Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New U.S. Bill Seeks to Improve Trade Remedy Law Enforcement

(Timothy C. Brightbill, Wiley Rein LLP)

On August 5, 2010, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced legislation to reinforce and strengthen U.S. government enforcement of the trade remedy laws. “The Enforcing Orders and Reducing Circumvention and Evasion (ENFORCE) Act of 2010” (the “ENFORCE Act”), is expected to receive broad bipartisan support in the Senate. A similar measure is being developed in the House. If enacted, the ENFORCE Act would represent a significant improvement in trade law enforcement and the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to address evasion and circumvention.

Currently, U.S. trade remedy laws allow domestic producers to obtain relief from unfair practices of foreign trading partners through the application of antidumping and countervailing duties (“AD/CVD”). Of course, these forms of relief are only effective to the extent that they are enforced. Many domestic industries have long called for stricter enforcement procedures, because their relief has, in many instances, been effectively foreclosed due to a lack of adequate or timely AD/CVD enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Commerce. In addition, illegal duty evasion schemes have become more pervasive in recent years, as foreign producers and importers use shell companies, false import documents, and transshipment through third countries to avoid lawfully owed duties. Indeed, a growing number of foreign shipping companies openly advertise their ability to help importers evade U.S. antidumping and countervailing duties. Read more