ERJ staff report (TB)
WASHINGTON (Dec. 21, 2011) - The defendants in the recently overturned Chinese OTR tyre imports countervailing duties case - Titan Tire Corp., the United Steelworkers (USW) and Bridgestone Americas Inc. - now have up to 90 days to decide whether to appeal the 3-year-old case again, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs.
The case-GPX International Tire Corp./Hebei Starbright Tire Co. Ltd. and Tianjin United Tire & Rubber International Co. Ltd. (TUTRIC) vs. the U.S., Titan Tire, the USW and Bridgestone-was filed originally in December 2008 in reaction to stiff import and countervailing duties filed earlier that year by the U.S. Commerce Department against a number of Chinese OTR tyre makers.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington ruled Dec. 19 that the Commerce Department did not have the authority in 2008 to impose countervailing duties on certain OTR tyres from China. The ruling by a three-judge panel affirms a position taken by the U.S. Court of International Trade in September 2009 and reconfirmed in August 2010 that countervailing duties cannot be applied to goods from non-market economy (NME) countries.
Of the three defendants, only Titan thus far has commented, saying the pressure now is on Congress to implement changes in the law. â€œTitan does not feel that while waiting for Congress to act, we will be losing out on any significant amount of sales,â€ Titan Chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. said in a prepared statement.
In the ruling, the court found that the U.S. Congress, in amending and re-enacting international trade laws in 1988 and 1994, adopted the position that countervailing duty law does not apply to NME nations and therefore only Congress can remedy any inadequacies in trade law that don't protect U.S. industry from perceived unfair competition.
According to attorneys for plaintiffs GPX/Hebei Starbright, the defendants in the case, including the Commerce Department, still can appeal the case, either to the Appeals Court's full judge panel (en banque) or to the Supreme Court.
If neither occurs, the Appeals Court's ruling becomes de facto law, an occurrence that would impact a growing number of other cases affecting dozens of companies in a number of industries, according to Daniel L. Porter of Winston & Strawn L.L.P., the Washington law firm representing GPX/Hebei Starbright.
Once the case is resolved, the appellants will be able to apply for the return of countervailing duty deposits, Mr. Porter said.
Since GPX no longer exists???it filed for bankruptcy in late 2009 and its assets were liquidated-Winston & Strawn is continuing the case primarily for Hebei Starbright, now owned by Maine Industrial Tire L.L.C.
The other appellant, TUTRIC, is represented by separate counsel, Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt L.L.P., of Washington. Attorneys for TUTRIC have not yet responded to Tire Business' request for comment.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)