Justia International Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
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The case involves three organizations of Spanish olive producers (collectively “Asemesa”) who appealed a decision by the Court of International Trade (“the Trade Court”) regarding a countervailing duty imposed on olives imported from Spain. Asemesa argued that an order from the Department of Commerce imposing a countervailing duty on imported olives was contrary to law and that the Trade Court should have overturned the order. The United States and the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ripe Olives argued that Commerce’s factual findings were supported by substantial evidence and that the Trade Court’s decision should be upheld.The Trade Court had previously reversed a decision by Commerce, concluding that the evidence that table olives accounted for 8 percent of the demand for raw olives did not show that the demand for raw olives was “substantially dependent” on the demand for table olives. The case was remanded to Commerce for further analysis. On remand, Commerce redefined the market for the prior stage product as the raw olives that the olive industry considers principally suitable for use in the production of table olives. The Trade Court rejected Commerce’s analysis, reasoning that Commerce’s market definition would “render the requirements of Section 1677–2 largely self-fulfilling.” The case was remanded to Commerce for a second time to correctly define the relevant market for the prior stage product and analyze whether the demand for the prior stage product was substantially dependent on the demand for table olives.On the second remand, Commerce again redefined the relevant market for the prior stage product, this time defining that market as consisting of the olives from varietals that the Spanish government considers suitable for processing into table olives, including dual-use varietals. Commerce calculated that 55.28 percent of all olives from varietals suitable for processing into table olives were indeed sold as table olives. Commerce adopted the Trade Court’s interpretation of the “substantially dependent” provision in section 1677–2 as requiring that more than half of the prior stage product be processed into the relevant finished good. Accordingly, Commerce determined that the demand for olive varietals suitable for processing into table olives was substantially dependent on the demand for table olives, and that a countervailing duty on table olives from Spain was warranted to offset the subsidies provided to Spanish olive growers. This time, the Trade Court sustained Commerce’s analysis.Asemesa now appeals the Trade Court’s determination. Asemesa argues that Commerce’s interpretation of the statute was contrary to law, and that Commerce’s factual analysis was not supported by substantial evidence. Although the court's interpretation of section 1677–2 and its analysis of the factual record in this case differ from the Trade Court’s, the court agrees with that court’s ultimate conclusion on both issues. The court affirms the Trade Court's decision. View "ASOCIACION DE EXPORTADORES E INDUSTRIALES v. US " on Justia Law

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The case involves an appeal by Wheatland Tube Company against a decision by the U.S. Court of International Trade, which affirmed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s remand determination concerning the scope of an antidumping duty order on certain steel pipes imported from Thailand. The dispute centers on whether certain imports of steel pipes, specifically those that are "dual-stenciled" as both standard pipes and line pipes, fall within the scope of the existing antidumping duty order.The U.S. Court of International Trade initially found that the Department of Commerce unlawfully expanded the scope of the antidumping duty order by determining that it covered dual-stenciled pipes. On remand, the Department of Commerce, under protest, concluded that the antidumping duty order did not cover dual-stenciled pipes. The U.S. Court of International Trade sustained this determination.On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the decision of the U.S. Court of International Trade. The Court of Appeals held that the Department of Commerce’s initial determination that dual-stenciled pipes fall within the scope of the antidumping duty order was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence. The Court of Appeals found that the lower court's interpretation lacked support in the record and failed to give sufficient deference to the Department of Commerce under the substantial evidence standard of review. View "SAHA THAI STEEL PIPE PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED v. US " on Justia Law

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In 2020, Zircon Corp. filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission alleging that Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. and Black & Decker (U.S.), Inc. violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing and selling electronic stud finders that infringed on Zircon's patents. The Commission instituted an investigation based on Zircon's complaint. A Commission Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found no violation of section 337. On review, the Commission affirmed the ALJ's finding of no violation.The Commission's decision was based on two independent reasons. First, it affirmed the ALJ's determination that Zircon had not satisfied the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement. Zircon had argued that it met this requirement based on its investment in plant and equipment, its employment of labor and capital, and its investment in the exploitation of the asserted patents. However, the Commission found that Zircon had not provided an adequate basis to evaluate the investments and the significance of those investments with respect to each asserted patent.Second, the Commission found each of the claims of the patents that were before the Commission were either invalid or not infringed. The Commission found that all the asserted claims of one patent would have been obvious in view of four prior art references; that several claims of two other patents were invalid as anticipated by or obvious in light of Zircon’s original stud finder; and that several of the claims of these two patents were not infringed.Zircon appealed the Commission's decision, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Commission's decision. The court agreed with the Commission's interpretation of section 337 and found that substantial evidence supported the Commission's finding that Zircon failed to meet its burden to prove the existence of a domestic industry relating to articles protected by each of its patents. View "ZIRCON CORP. v. ITC " on Justia Law

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The case involves Rimco Inc., an importer and reseller of wheels, who appealed against the United States Court of International Trade's dismissal of its action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Rimco sought judicial review of a denied protest against the assessment of countervailing and antidumping duties by Customs and Border Protection. Rimco argued that the Court of International Trade had exclusive jurisdiction to review the denial of protests under 28 U.S.C. § 1581(a), or alternatively, residual jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1581(i).Previously, the Court of International Trade had dismissed Rimco's action, stating that it lacked jurisdiction under § 1581(a) because Customs' application of antidumping and countervailing duties was not a protestable decision. The court also found that it lacked jurisdiction under § 1581(i) because jurisdiction under § 1581(c) would have been available if Rimco had sought administrative review of Commerce’s antidumping and countervailing duties determinations.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Court of International Trade's dismissal. The court held that Customs' ministerial assessment of antidumping and countervailing duties was not a protestable decision. Furthermore, the court found that jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1581(c) would have been available and not manifestly inadequate if Rimco had not failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Therefore, the Court of International Trade correctly dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Rimco Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The case at hand involves United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel), an Australian producer and exporter of hot-rolled steel, BlueScope Steel (AIS) Pty Ltd., and its affiliated U.S. importer, BlueScope Steel Americas, Inc. U.S. Steel alleged that the Australian company had reimbursed its U.S. affiliate for antidumping duties, a claim which BlueScope denied. The core dispute arose from differing interpretations of a supply agreement between the companies, which determined the pricing of the steel products.Prior to reaching the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the case was reviewed by the United States Court of International Trade. This lower court sustained the Department of Commerce's determination that BlueScope had not reimbursed its U.S. importer for antidumping duties. The court found that the agency's determination was supported by substantial evidence and was otherwise in accordance with the law.Upon reaching the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court reviewed the decisions of the Court of International Trade de novo, applying the same standard of review used by the trial court in reviewing the administrative record before the agency. The appeals court upheld the decision made by the lower court, finding that the agency's determination was supported by substantial evidence and was in accordance with the law. The court also held that the agency did not err in its interpretation of the antidumping duty regulation, and therefore did not depart from an established practice. As a result, the appeals court affirmed the lower court's decision. View "United States Steel Corporation v. United States" on Justia Law

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The case involves RKW Klerks Inc. (RKW), an importer of net wraps used to wrap round bales of harvested crops, who contested the classification of its products by the United States Customs and Border Protection (Customs) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Customs had classified the net wraps under HTSUS Chapter 60 under subheading 6005.39.00 as “warp knit fabric,” dutiable at the rate of 10% ad valorem. RKW argued that the net wraps should be classified under Chapter 84, subheading 8433.90.50 as “parts” of harvesting machinery or alternatively subheading 8436.99.00 as “parts” of other agricultural machinery.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the decision of the United States Court of International Trade (CIT) that the net wraps were not a part of harvesting or other agricultural machinery. The court reasoned that the net wraps were not dedicated solely for use with baling machines, nor were they integral to the function of the machines. The court further noted that the net wraps performed a function outside of the machine, maintaining the shape of the bale after it had been compressed and released, and thus could not be classified as a part of the machine.The court therefore affirmed the CIT’s decision that the net wraps were correctly classified under HTSUS Chapter 60 under subheading 6005.39.00 as “warp knit fabric,” rather than as parts of harvesting or other agricultural machinery. View "RKW KLERKS INC. v. US " on Justia Law

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The case involves the classification of certain knit gloves with partial plastic coating under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the United States Court of International Trade that the gloves are properly classified under heading 6116. The plaintiff, Magid Glove & Safety Manufacturing Co. LLC, imported the gloves from China and South Korea and argued that the gloves should have been classified under subheading 3926.20.10, a duty-free provision. However, the Court of International Trade and the Court of Appeals disagreed, stating that the gloves are not "of plastics" as required by heading 3926, but are "knitted" as described by heading 6116. The Court of Appeals also rejected the plaintiff's argument that Section XI Note 1(h) and the "completely embedded" test applied in a previous case excluded the gloves from classification under heading 6116. The court concluded that the term "completely embedded" does not appear in Section XI Note 1(h) or the two competing headings in this case and is not applicable to the classification of the gloves. View "MAGID GLOVE & SAFETY MANUFACTURING CO. LLC v. US" on Justia Law

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In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was asked to review a decision by the United States Court of International Trade. The dispute arose from an anti-dumping investigation conducted by the Department of Commerce into the sale of certain welded carbon steel pipes from Thailand, specifically those sold by Saha Thai Steel Pipe Public Company Limited and Thai Premium Pipe Company Ltd.The Department of Commerce initially found that the costs of producing these pipes were distorted by a "particular market situation" (PMS) in Thailand that affected the cost of hot rolled steel coil, a crucial component in the production of these pipes. As a result, the Department made upward adjustments to the production costs of these companies when calculating the anti-dumping margins, which impacted the duty rates assigned to each company. This decision was challenged in the Court of International Trade, which found that the Department had overstepped its statutory authority.The Court of International Trade ruled, based on the precedent set in Hyundai Steel Co. v. United States, that the Department of Commerce was not allowed to make a PMS adjustment to the cost of production when determining anti-dumping margins. The court remanded the case to the Department to recalculate the dumping margins without the PMS adjustment.The case was subsequently appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The appellant, Wheatland Tube Company, argued that this case could be distinguished from Hyundai Steel because the Department had relied on a subsection of the statute to adjust the cost of production upward to account for a PMS by framing it as a constructed value calculation. The Court of Appeals disagreed, affirming the lower court's decision and holding that the statute does not authorize PMS adjustments to cost of production calculations, regardless of how the Department attempted to frame it. View "SAHA THAI STEEL PIPE PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED v. US " on Justia Law

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Sharifi alleges the U.S. Army took his land when it built Combat Outpost Millet in Afghanistan in 2010. The government asserted that Sharifi’s Fifth Amendment complaint was “vague and ambiguous” because it did not specifically identify the property interest that the government allegedly took, that Sharifi had not provided a legal description of the land, a deed, or other documents that would allow the government to identify the location. The Claims Court instructed Sharifi to file an amended complaint. Sharifi alleged that government records, verified by the District Governor of Arghandab, showed that his grandfather owned the land on which the Army built COP Millet: Ownership of the land passed to Sharifi and his siblings, who subdivided the land by a 2004 inheritance agreement. The government submitted six declarations, including several witness declarations and an expert declaration on Afghan law. The Claims Court dismissed Sharifi’s amended complaint for failure to show a cognizable property interest.The Federal Circuit affirmed. The government records attached to Sharifi’s amended complaint and the 2004 inheritance agreement do not constitute proof of land ownership under the laws of Afghanistan. Even accepting as true all factual allegations in Sharifi’s amended complaint, the amended complaint does not contain sufficient facts to state a plausible takings claim. View "Sharifi v. United States" on Justia Law

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The U.S. Court of International Trade affirmed the Department of Commerce’s final affirmative determination in the countervailing duty investigation on cold-rolled steel flat products from the Republic of Korea. Commerce determined that the Korean government provided the respondents no financial assistance “because the prices charged to these respondents under the applicable industrial tariff were consistent with KEPCO’s [Korea Electric Power Corporation] standard pricing mechanism.” KEPCO is the state-owned sole provider of electricity in Korea. Commerce found no evidence suggesting that that the respondents received preferential treatment over other industrial users of electricity that purchase comparable amounts of electricity. Commerce did not review quality, availability, marketability, transportation, or other conditions affecting KEPCO’s purchase or sale of electricity.The Federal Circuit vacated. The 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act, 19 U.S.C. 3511, changed the definition of what constitutes a benefit conferred. Commerce’s reliance on a preferential-rate standard is inconsistent with the statute, particularly the less-than-adequate-remuneration requirement, and is therefore contrary to law. Commerce’s cost-recovery analysis was limited to discussion of KEPCO’s costs. That limited analysis does not support its conclusion that electricity prices paid to KEPCO by respondents are consistent with prevailing market conditions because Commerce failed to evaluate the Korea Power Exchange’s impact on the Korean electricity market. View "Posco v. United States" on Justia Law