Non-Responses by Importer Lead to Evasion Finding
CBP determined there is substantial evidence that LTT International Trading Co. evaded antidumping and countervailing duty orders on quartz surface products from China (A-570-084/C-570-085). CBP said transshipped the covered merchandise through Taiwan and declared that the entries of Chinese-origin quartz surface products were of Taiwan origin, CBP said in its Sept. 12 evasion notice. LTT repeatedly missed opportunities to potentially disprove the allegation and to rebut the evidence on the record, CBP said.
The investigation followed an October 2022 allegation by Cambria Company, which claimed that LTT had acted as the importer of record for quartz surface products shipments from Taiwan that originated in China. Cambria pointed to shipping data showing that LTT received shipments from Taiwan with Cheng Jug Enterprise as the listed manufacturer. Cambria said that views of the address listed for Cheng Jug showed an apartment building and commercial storefront rather than a building that could serve as a production facility. Cheng Jug also exports mattresses and diamond sawblades to the U.S., both of which are covered by AD/CVD orders for Chinese-origin products, CBP said.
In its notice of investigation and interim measures issued in February, CBP said that it found the allegation reasonably suggested LTT may have evaded the AD/CVD orders. LTT provided timely, but only partially translated, responses to CBP questionnaires. When investigating LTT's listed suppliers, CBP found at least one location wasn't a manufacturing facility. Some certificates of origin were misdated, including at least one stamped for export after its date of arrival in the U.S., CBP said. LTT provided a narrative description of the quartz production process and photos of the production, but none of the photos identify the facilities as belonging to Cheng Jug or any of its suppliers, the agency said (see 2302210004).
After the notice of investigation, CBP issued questionnaires to LTT, Cheng Jug, Pan Yang and an unnamed supplier. None of the entities responded to the questionnaires despite confirmation of receipt by each, the agency said, and the agency's ability to obtain information was "impeded significantly," it said. CBP found that they hadn't cooperated to the best of their abilities and decided to draw inferences adverse to LTT from other information submitted, including the allegation.
Using adverse inferences, CBP found that LTT entered covered merchandise into the U.S. through evasion. The documents that CBP did obtain from LTT were "riddled with discrepancies" and suggested that Chen Jug doesn't manufacture any quartz products itself, CBP said. The discrepancies called into question whether any production existed in Taiwan. LTT failed to provide the requested accounting and production documentation, which could have supported the claim that the quartz products were manufactured in Taiwan.
The analysis of the international trade data shows a drastic decline in quartz imports from China to the U.S. and a sharp growth spike of similar imports from Taiwan when the AD/CVD investigation at Commerce concluded in 2018. That information, combined with the fact that Cheng Jug is exporting several other goods subject to Chinese AD/CVD orders, suggested that Cheng Jug doesn't manufacture any quartz products itself and is exporting to LTT merchandise that likely originated in China, CBP said.
CBP said it will suspend entries covered by this investigation until instructed to liquidate. For entries previously extended in accordance with interim measures, CBP will rate-adjust and continue suspension. CBP will continue to evaluate the importer’s continuous bonds and may pursue additional enforcement actions or penalties.
"This blatant evasion needs to stop," Cambria said. "We are grateful that CBP reached a final affirmative determination in this EAPA investigation."
LTT didn't respond to our request for comment.