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Door Thresholds Importers Tells CAFC Petitioner Ignored Scope Language in Aluminum Extrusions Orders

Antidumping duty petitioner Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee's claims against the exclusion of importers Worldwide Door Components' and Columbia Aluminum Products' door thresholds from the scope of the AD/CVD orders on aluminum extrusions from China sit on an incomplete reading of the scope, the importers argued. Filing a reply brief on Aug. 8 at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Worldwide and Columbia claimed that the petitioner ignored the finished merchandise exclusion in the scope and that the Commerce Department refused to consider this exclusion in its initial scope ruling (Worldwide Door Components v. United States, Fed. Cir. # 23-1532) (Columbia Aluminum Products v. United States, Fed. Cir. # 23-1534).

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The committee said the initial scope ruling should be reinstated since Commerce rightly said that door thresholds are expressly included in the scope language, focusing on a part of the scope that references "door thresholds." The importers replied that the committee ignored the finished merchandise exclusion, as the agency did initially, which is a part of the scope language -- "the cornerstone of any scope analysis." Commerce must consider the scope language "in its entirety as the first step in its inquiry," the brief said.

Worldwide and Columbia claimed that Commerce's initial finding is even more "egregious" since it said it relied on a (k)(1) analysis. Before employing this framework, the agency must first "read and address the scope language in full," but here it "bypassed this fundamental step," the brief said. The "unambiguous scope language" shows that the finished merchandise exclusion applies here, the importers added. While the committee said there is no dispute that a door threshold is part of a final door frame or door, the importers said its products are not "parts" but "finished merchandise 'ready for use without further processing and that cannot be cut to custom sizes without destroying the thresholds' functionality.'"

Commerce initially found the door thresholds subject to AD/CVD for a number of reasons, including that door thresholds are specifically mentioned in the scope and that they are subassemblies of larger doors and therefore can’t qualify for the “finished merchandise” exemption. The trade court ruled that Commerce based its analysis on inferences that were contradicted by other information on the record. The agency went back to the drawing board, and in its second remand results, excluded the thresholds under the finished merchandise exclusion.

In railing against the government's new finding, the petitioner cited a string of past Federal Circuit decisions. Worldwide and Columbia said that the petitioner's "discussion of the facts" is "minimal," and instead centers on "past court decisions" that the committee "misreads" and "misapplies" by ignoring material facts. For instance, the committee cited Whirlpool v. U.S., which said that the orders explicitly include extrusions assembled after import in addition to extrusions components that are attached to make subassemblies.

"Neither of those conditions is present here," the importers said. Instead, the thresholds at issue are merchandise that contains an extrusions component along with non-aluminum parts that are "fully and permanently assembled and completed at the time of entry."