Anti-Dumping Petition Against Mitsubishi Chemical Dismissed

June 14, 2004

Cleary Gottlieb succeeded in obtaining dismissal of a petition to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of blast furnace coke when the Court of International Trade affirmed the Negative Preliminary Determination of injury and threat of injury findings of the U.S. International Trade Commission. Cleary Gottlieb had intervened in the CIT proceeding on behalf of Mitsubishi Chemical, one of the producers named in the petition. In May 2003, CIT Judge Eaton found extensive fault with the ITC’s ruling and remanded the petition for further consideration of “reasonable indication,” requiring the Commission to answer a long list of rather pointed questions.

Blast furnace coke is a key ingredient in the production of steel and accounts for a significant portion of production costs. Claiming that Japanese and Chinese producers were exporting blast furnace coke to the U.S. at unfairly low prices that were injuring or threatening to injure the U.S. coke producing industry, a coalition of domestic producers in June 2001 filed a petition for the imposition of anti-dumping duties.

Shortly after the outset of such proceedings, the ITC determines whether there is a “reasonable indication” that injury has occurred or will occur in the future as a result of the challenged imports. That standard is generally considered a low threshold. An affirmative determination that the standard has been satisfied allows costly investigations to go forward, with the Department of Commerce determining whether dumping has occurred, and if so, what the remedial duties should be. The ITC then determines whether injury or threat of injury has actually been established.

In coordination with the other foreign producers, Cleary Gottlieb persuaded the ITC that because water transport brought the imports to coastal or near-coastal furnaces, the imports did not significantly compete with inland domestic production. For that and other reasons, the ITC terminated the administrative proceedings. The petitioners then appealed to the CIT, at which point Cleary Gottlieb intervened on behalf of Mitsubishi.