HomeGAA in the MediaPress ReleasesNewsDumping Probe of BHP Unit’s Alloy Exports Clears ITC Hurdle


Law 360,
April 06, 2015
Alex Lawson

Dumping Probe of BHP Unit’s Alloy Exports Clears ITC Hurdle

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday voted to continue an anti-dumping investigation of a BHP Billiton Ltd. subsidiary's shipments of a critical alloy additive used in steel production, preliminarily finding that the imports are posing a threat to U.S. manufacturers.

All six ITC commissioners voted in favor of a preliminary injury determination, keeping alive a petition from West Virginia manufacturer Felman Production LLC seeking duties of nearly 78 percent to counteract the imports from BHP's Australia-based Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Co., which Felman claims are being sold in the U.S. at an unfairly low value.

The green light from the ITC will allow the U.S. Department of Commerce to forge ahead with its parallel investigation of whether imports of silicomanganese from Australia are actually being dumped on the U.S. market.

“Commerce will continue to conduct its investigation on imports of this product from Australia, with its preliminary anti-dumping duty determination due on or about July 29, 2015,” the commission said in a brief statement Friday.

TEMCO was unsuccessful in its bid to convince the ITC that any of Felman's economic troubles have been caused by homegrown factors and not from outside imports. The company told the commission that a struggle for profitability has been “the norm” for Felman ever since it bought its West Virginia facility.

“To the extent that the domestic industry suffered any adverse impacts at earlier points in the [period of investigation], those impacts have now dissipated,” TEMCO said in a March 17 filing to the ITC. “Moreover … any such adverse impacts were not caused by imports from Australia.”

Felman filed its petition Feb. 19, looking slap a 61.1 percent anti-dumping duty on silicomanganese  from Australia, where TEMCO is the lone producer. That requested margin was bumped up to 77.97 percent after certain pricing recalculations were put in place before Commerce launched its own probe.

The case comes at crucial time for Australian mining giant BHP, which jointly owns TEMCO with Anglo American PLC. TEMCO is one of a fleet of mining operations that BHP is looking to spin off into an independent mining and metals company known as South32.

In announcing its move to launch the case, Commerce reported that imports of silicomanganese from Australia were valued at $76.9 million last year.

The silicomanganese industry is no stranger to the U.S. trade remedy laws, as Commerce already has anti-dumping orders in effect against such imports from India, Kazakhstan, Venezuela, China and Ukraine.

An attorney for Felman did not immediately respond to a request for comment and an attorney for TEMCO declined to comment on the case Monday.

Felman is represented by Jack A. Levy, Myles S. Getlan, Thomas M. Beline and Carl P. Moyer of Cassidy Levy Kent LLP.

TEMCO is represented by Alexander D. Chinoy, David R. Grace, Catherine Gibson and Aman T. George of Covington & Burling LLP.

The case is Silicomanganese from Australia, investigation number 731-TA-1269, in the U.S. International Trade Commission.