USTR requests Commission investigation into KORUS, and other recent filings

Since CapTrade’s last article on recent 701 (countervailing duty) & 731 (antidumping duty) Petitions and 337 Complaints, there have been several new filings in the past few weeks. Most notably, the United States Trade Representative requested the USITC conduct an investigation to assess the “probable economic effect” of modifications to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). [1]

This development comes after Ambassador Lighthizer issued a joint statement in March with the Korean Minister for Trade, Hyun Chong Kim, regarding “the general terms of amendments and modifications to the United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement.”[2] The parties also agreed on a country exemption for Korea from steel import tariffs.[3] The arrangement with respect to steel imports is expected to take effect on May 1, 2018.[4]

Links to the USTR Letter’s docket, and dockets for recent petitions and complaints are below: [5]

Docket No. Received Type Commodity Investigation No.
3308 4/9/18 337 Complaint Radio Frequency Micro-Needle Dermatological Treatment Devices Pending Institution
3307 4/6/18 Other US – Korea Free Trade Agreement Pending
3306 4/2/18 337 Complaint Human Milk Oligosaccharides Pending Institution
3305 3/30/18 337 Complaint Portable Gaming Console Systems With Attachable Handheld Controllers Pending Institution
3304 3/28/18 701 & 731 Petition Glycine 701-TA-603-605 and 731-TA-1413-1415
3303 3/27/18 337 Complaint Strontium-Rubidium Radioisotope Infusion Systems, and Components Thereof Including Generators Pending Institution
3302 3/27/18 337 Complaint Modular LED Display Panels Pending Institution
3301 3/27/18 701 & 731 Petition Steel Wheels 701-TA-602 and 731-TA-1412

Under Title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930, U.S. industries may petition the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) and the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) for relief from imports that are sold in the U.S. at less than fair value (i.e. “dumped”), or that benefit from the countervailable subsidies provided by foreign governments (i.e. “subsidized”).[6]

The process for 337 Complaints is different. Under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, the USITC conducts investigations into allegations of certain unfair practices in import trade. The large majority of these investigations revolve around allegations of registered trademark or patent infringement. Other investigations may involve misappropriation of trade secrets, false advertising, violations of antitrust laws, and other allegations of forms of unfair competition.[7]

CapTrade plans to post links to new filings at the USITC as they are submitted in the coming months. Another resource is the CapTrade timeline tool (here) which provides the approximate schedule for AD/CVD investigations.

[1] The USITC website states that this letter, concerning the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, “[requests] that the Commission conduct an investigation under section 104 of the Act regarding the probable economic effect of the modifications on U.S. trade under the FTA and on domestic producers of the affected articles.” “Docket Number 3307”, United States International Trade Commission, accessed April 12 2018, https://www.usitc.gov/3307.htm

[2] “Joint Statement by the United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and Republic of Korea Minister for Trade Hyun Chong Kim”, USTR, https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2018/march/joint-statement-united-states-trade .

[3] Agreement for country exemption under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 9705, as amended. Id.

[4] Id.

[5] “Recent Petitions & Complaints”, United States International Trade Commission, accessed April 12, 2018, https://www.usitc.gov/petitions_and_complaints.

[6] “Import Injury”, United States International Trade Commission, https://www.usitc.gov/trade_remedy.htm .

[7] Section 337 Investigations: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, United States International Trade Commission, Publication No. 4105, March 2009, p. 1 https://www.usitc.gov/intellectual_property/documents/337_faqs.pdf.

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