U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Final Results of Administrative Review Combating Fraud in Chinese Shrimp Trade

The final results of the eighth administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp from the People’s Republic of China was published last Friday in the Federal Register.


The publication indicates that the U.S. Department of Commerce found all Chinese shrimp producers and exporters included in the review to be subject to an antidumping duty rate of 112.81%. In particular, Commerce found circumstances appropriate to apply “total adverse facts available” to Zhanjiang Newpro Foods, Ltd. and Hilltop International.


The agency’s findings with respect to Hilltop International are a continuation of prior determinations by Commerce that the Chinese exporter had provided false and inaccurate information in prior administrative reviews. Rather than submit accurate information and cure past deficiencies, Hilltop has elected to decline to participate further in Commerce’s proceedings.


Commerce’s determinations regarding Zhanjiang Newpro, on the other hand, were particular to its conduct in the eighth administrative review, leading up to Newpro’s eventual refusal to answer any of the agency’s questions.


In a memorandum placed on the public record of the proceeding back in March, Commerce explained that numerous questions regarding information submitted by Newpro had been raised by the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee. While much of the details underlying the questions were not disclosed on the public record, Newpro’s eventually simply refused to participate any further in the proceeding.


The sparse details that were disclosed on the public record indicate numerous issues with respect to Newpro’s reported sales. Commerce explained that the agency had requested contracts, purchase orders, and corresponding invoices for a particular category of Newpro’s sales during the period of review. In response, Newpro provided only health certificates and bills of lading, asserting that it would submit the remainder of the relevant commercial documentation at a later point. Ultimately, Newpro declined to provide this – and other – information requested by Commerce, leading the agency to observe:


Although documentation not in Newpro’s possession may require additional time or effort to procure, we see no reason why Newpro should not have been able to produce documentation in its possession, such as purchase orders received from a customer, invoices issued to a customer, payment documentation for sales, and evidence of price negotiations with a customer. These are all documents that should be maintained by a company in the normal course of business and the timing of Newpro’s withdrawal prior to submission of this information suggests that the documents may have contained information adverse to Newpro’s interests.


Summarizing Newpro’s conduct in the proceeding, the Department concluded:


The facts detailed above, Newpro and its importer’s conduct in this proceeding, and Newpro’s ultimate withdrawal from the proceeding prior to submission of documents requested by the Department demonstrate a troubling fact pattern that is amplified by apparent errors in properly entering subject merchandise in at least two reviews and submitting misleading or incorrect information to the Department in this review.


In response, Commerce made adjustments to the ultimate antidumping duty assessment rate applied to the importer of Newpro’s shrimp:


In PRC Shrimp AR3 and Vietnam Fish Fillets AR1 and AR2, the Department performed an adjustment to the antidumping duty assessment calculated for certain importers in order to collect the proper amount of antidumping duties on dutiable entries that would have been owed on all entries of subject merchandise regardless of their designation as Type 01 or Type 03. Given the case-specific facts in this review, we find that an importer-specific adjustment is warranted in this case.


These actions were affirmed in the Final Results, with some modifications to the assessment rate applied to Newpro’s importer.


In total, the Final Results published by Commerce last week further demonstrate the agency’s commitment to the enforcement of the antidumping duty orders on imports of shrimp and an unwillingness to tolerate false and misleading representations from shrimp exporters and their U.S. importers.


Review the published Final Results of the 8th Administrative Review of shrimp from the People’s Republic of China here:


Review the public version of the Department’s March 18, 2014 memorandum on Zhanjiang Newpro here:

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