Commerce Announces Preliminarily Results That Would Substantially Increase Duties Owed on Past Entries of Vietnamese Shrimp

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced preliminarily results finding that frozen warmwater shrimp from the Vietnamese shrimp exporter Grobest & I-Mei Industrial (Vietnam) (“Grobest”) entered between February 1, 2008 and January 31, 2009 should be subject to an antidumping duty rate of 25.76%. In that review, Grobest had initially received a 3.92% antidumping duty rate but filed suit at the U.S. Court of International Trade demanding an individual review of its sales. Grobest’s suit was successful and the Court ordered Commerce to re-conduct the administrative review.


However, when Commerce restarted the 2008-09 review for Grobest, an affiliate of the U.S. importer Ocean Duke Corporation, the company declined to participate in the review. In December 2012, several months after Commerce issued final results finding that Ocean Duke Corporation’s Chinese affiliate, Hilltop International, had submitted inaccurate information to the agency in response to inquiries regarding potential evasion of antidumping duties, Grobest informed Commerce that it no longer wished to be individually reviewed and asked that the proceeding be cancelled.


In response, the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC) argued that Commerce was obligated by law to conduct the review and could not avoid answering questions posed by Commerce without repercussions. Grobest nevertheless continued its refusal to participate in the proceeding.


In the preliminary results released today, Commerce assigned a 25.76% AFA rate to Grobest, agreeing with the arguments of AHSTAC while raising questions about Grobest’s actions:


“the Department is required to re-conduct the administrative review of Grobest . . . . Moreover, the Department has spent significant resources as a result of Grobest’s challenge to the Department’s original decision not to review Grobest individually. Now, after the Department devoted its resources to individually examine Grobest, Grobest inexplicably asks the Department to return to it a prior status, which the Court overturned at Grobest’s request in the litigation that Grobest initiated and pursued to its conclusion.”


Commerce will entertain case briefs regarding the preliminary announcement before issuing final results. Commerce’s announcement today indicated that final results would be issued no later than one hundred and twenty days after the preliminary determination is formally published in the Federal Register.



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