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Commerce Conducts On-Site Verification on Remand After Issues With Questionnaire Method

The Commerce Department continued to give Indian exporter Bharat Forge Limited a 0% dumping rate after conducting on-site verification for the first time on remand. Submitting its remand results to the Court of International Trade on Feb. 7, Commerce said the on-site verification led to a host of revisions to the agency's margin calculations, though the end result was ultimately the same for the company (Ellwood City Forge Co. v. United States, CIT # 21-00007).

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Commerce noted right off the bat that "verifications do not create a traditional, concrete reliance interest to one particular party or another, e.g., the petitioner or the respondent." The agency said it conducts verifications "to confirm the accuracy of the information on the record, which in turn allows the agency to more accurately calculate an estimated weighted-average dumping [margin] and fairly administer U.S. trade laws."

As a result, the way Commerce carries out its procedural rules pertaining to verification "does not implicate any reliance interests on behalf of the petitioners or respondent companies."

In the case, which concerns the antidumping duty investigation on forged steel fluid end blocks from India, the trade court remanded Commerce's decision to find that a questionnaire can take the place of on-site verification (see 2308110049). Judge Stephen Vaden said the agency's finding that a questionnaire can take the place of on-site verification, issued after the initial decision to say it can't, short-circuits the procedural requirements for new agency action.

The decision cut against the Supreme Court's ruling in Dept. of Homeland Security v. Regents of the Univ. of California, which said that on remand an agency can either take new agency action or further explain its position, Vaden said. On remand, Commerce said it complied with Regents' procedural requirements by conducting the cost and sales verifications and following its "normal verification procedures."

Regarding Bharat's actual AD rate, the agency said it reversed the decision to use partial adverse facts available for the company's net input weights used in its cost calculations. However, Commerce used partial AFA for the costs of parts for an unnamed product control number. The agency also said it included a redacted general and administrative cost amount, which was "recorded to direct cost centers under other divisions in the overall cost reconciliation." This amount was included in the G&A cost amount.

Other alterations were made stemming from Bharat's sales verification findings, though information surrounding these was largely redacted.