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AD Petitioners Take to CIT to Contest Scope Decision on Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings

The scope of the antidumping duty order on carbon steel butt-weld pipe fittings from China "unambiguously" applies to pipe fittings "in finished and unfinished form," AD petitioners Tube Forgings of America and Mills Iron Works argued in a Nov. 16 complaint at the Court of International Trade. Commerce's determination "eviscerates" the order's remedial effect by interpreting the term "unfinished form" to mean "create subcategories of pipe fittings in unfinished form," then saying these subcategories excluded certain pipe fittings in unfinished form, the brief said (Tube Forgings of America v. U.S., CIT # 23-00236).

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The complaint added that the AD order "lacks language that is subject to interpretation," making the use of (k)(1) sources illegal. The petitioners also claimed that Commerce improperly dismissed as "confusion" record evidence showing the butt-weld pipe fittings industry's longstanding use of interchangeable terms such as "rough" fittings, "as formed" fittings and "unfinished" fittings "all to refer to butt-weld pipe fittings in unfinished form." The finding that the terms "rough fitting" and "unfinished fittings" are "distinct and separate is unsupported by record evidence," the brief said.

The petitioners filed the suit to contest the covered merchandise inquiry requested by CBP regarding the carbon steel butt-weld pipe fittings AD order. The scope of the order covers "certain carbon steel butt-weld pipe fittings" that are "imported in either finished or unfinished form." In its preliminary finding, Commerce said that rough fittings are not unfinished fittings and are thus not subject to the order when exported from China to Vietnam, noting that the parties conflated the terms "rough" and "unfinished."

Tube Forgings of America and Mills Iron Works said Commerce's final determination "dismissed record evidence showing that the usual and common practice in the industry is to use the terms 'rough' fitting, 'as formed' fitting, and 'unfinished' fitting interchangeably." The petitioners said "Commerce substituted its own definitions of 'rough' and 'unfinished' fittings 'for clarity' and then proceeded to 'interpret' its definitions to conclude that a 'rough' fitting," which the record established has "no purpose other than to produce a finished butt-weld pipe fitting," was not a fitting in unfinished form.

The agency improperly disregarded "the probative value of an internal Commerce Department memorandum" from the original AD investigation, the petitioners added. The agency said the petitioners gave only an excerpt from the memo in their submission. The petitioners said this claim "was based purely on speculation stemming from the 'abrupt end' of the memorandum."