Appeals Court Upholds Ruling that Chinese Curtainwall is Subject to AD/CVD Orders

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed a decision by the Court of International Trade (CIT) that ruled Chinese curtainwall is subject to U.S. tariffs on aluminum extrusions imported from China. Jangho Curtain Wall Americas Co., Permasteelisa North America Corp., Permasteelisa South China Factory and Permasteelisa Hong Kong Ltd. jointly appealed the CIT’s decision from December 2017. The decision upheld an earlier scope determination by the U.S. Department of Commerce for the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on aluminum extrusions from China.

Background

In 2013, Shenyang Yuanda Aluminum Industry Engineering Co. and Yuanda USA Corp. sought a scope ruling from Commerce that the AD/CVD orders do not cover curtainwall units when imported under a contract for an entire curtainwall. Commerce solicited participation by interested parties Jangho and Permasteelisa.

In March 2014, Commerce rejected their position and ruled that the AD/CVD orders cover curtainwall units. The companies challenged the ruling with the CIT, which confirmed Commerce’s determination. Jangho and Permasteelisa appealed to the Appeals Court. Yuanda choose not to appeal.

Grounds for Appeal

First, the Appeals Court explained its decision to grant Jangho and Permasteelisa an appeal. The government said it had grounds to dismiss the appeal because the original case focused on Yuanda’s merchandise and that Jangho and Permasteelisa were not impacted by the original rulings. The Appeals Court decided that there were no grounds for dismissal because the March 2014 ruling from Commerce stated, “[a]s a result of Commerce’s scope ruling, Jangho’s curtain wall systems and curtain wall units are now subject to the aluminum extrusions orders … As a result of Commerce’s [March 2014 Commerce Ruling], Permasteelisa’s curtain wall is now subject to the [AD & CVD] Orders.”

The Ruling

The Appeals Court upheld the CIT ruling. At issue was the question of whether curtainwall units could be excluded from the AD/CVD orders because it is part of an overall curtainwall.

The ruling reads, “Commerce concluded that the ‘finished goods kit’ definition applies to curtain wall units ‘only if all of the necessary curtain wall units are imported at the same time.’ In its narrower ground of decision, adopted after several remands, Commerce interpreted the definition as requiring, at least, that a subassembly include ‘all the necessary hardware and components’ for, and not ‘require further “finishing” or “fabrication” prior to,’ installation in an overall finished product (here, the curtain wall).”

The Appeals Court ruling says it agrees with both of Commerce’s definitions and its finding that the curtainwall units as entered did not meet the condition that they be ready for installation “as is.” The ruling says that substantial evidence supports that finding.

“Commerce compared Yuanda’s technical drawings of its curtain wall units to its import documentation and found that the material imported would not complete the curtain wall unit because it did not contain hangers, lock panels, shims, and embeds necessary to piece the curtain wall units together,” reads the ruling. “Once the curtain wall units are hung, Commerce added, the purchaser would need to waterproof the connection between adjacent units and trim and punch the units to ensure that they fit next to each other.”

Response

Architectural Glass & Aluminum Co., Walters & Wolf, Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems and the U.S. were defendants in the appeal.

In a release from the Curtain Wall Coalition, Tom Black, president and COO of Walters & Wolf in Seattle, said, “We are pleased with the Court’s decision in this case. After years of litigation tactics by the Chinese companies, the courts have conclusively ruled that aluminum extrusions are covered by the AEC’s orders in curtain wall end-use applications. Our efforts now turn to enforcement to derail the circumvention stunts employed by the Chinese companies to avoid paying the tariffs and duties.”

Permasteelisa had not responded to USGNN™’s request for comment as of press time.

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