Within the last week, the Australian Minister for Home Affairs has issued directions to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to reinvestigate certain findings in relation to earlier investigations and measures applied to imports of aluminium road wheels (“ARW”) and hollow steel sections (“HSS”).
The Ministerial directions followed extensive and detailed applications for reinvestigation by interested parties and lengthy and complex reports by the Trade Measures Review Officer (”TMRO”).
Importantly, the aspects to be subject of reinvestigations include fundamental concepts such as:
- whether there is a “particular market situation” in the PRC iron and steel market which would require the use of “constructed” normal values rather than the use of normal values based on PRC prices
- the manner in which “normal values” of exporters were calculated
- where an exporter can properly be treated as a “non-cooperating exporter” who would be subject to measures calculated according to Customs own calculations rather than their own normal values and export prices and
- the approach to certain PRC “programs” considered to be subsidies to support the imposition of countervailing duties including the interpretation of a significant WTO appeal decision.
We are already working with clients in relation to the reinvestigations and would be pleased to assist other parties wishing to also make submissions.
In addition to the reinvestigations, affected parties may wish to consider whether the TMRO reports and the associated Ministerial directions would support legal review by the Federal Court on other grounds pursuant to the Administrative Decisions and Judicial Review Act 1977.
The TMRO reports and the Ministerial directions also have a potentially significant impact on current investigations being conducted by Customs at the instigation of BlueScope Steel in relation to alleged dumping and subsidisation of galvanised steel products.
The applications for those investigations and the decision by Customs to proceed with those investigations relied substantially on the earlier findings by Customs and the Minister in the HSS investigation. The findings of the TMRO and the Ministerial direction in relation to the ARW investigation are also relevant. Accordingly, those findings must create some significant problems for Customs in its approach to the galvanised steel investigations. Again, we are involved with those investigations and we would be pleased to assist further.