The U.S. Court of International Trade supported the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) conclusion that certain window wall systems imported by Reflection Window + Wall are exempt from tariffs. The tariffs refer to 10-year-old anti-dumping and countervailing orders on Chinese aluminum extrusions.

This decision refutes the efforts by some domestic companies to impose tariffs on certain imported Chinese window wall systems.

Judge Stephen Alexander Vaden agreed with the DOC’s assessment that Reflection’s products “contain, at the time of importation, all of the necessary parts to fully assemble a final finished good . . . [and] contain non-aluminum extruded parts beyond mere fasteners so that the products are finished goods kits excluded from the Orders’ scope.”

Vaden wrote in his decision that a “window wall system is a final finished good in the same sense as a window with glass — they are both inserted into an aperture in a building to provide insulation and a view. Curtainwall units are attached to the outside of a building and to other curtainwall units to form a complete curtainwall that envelops the building.  One window wall system — like one standard window — has a function alone; one curtainwall unit does not.”

The Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee, which consists of domestic aluminum producers, had appealed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s determination stating that it was unsupported by substantial evidence.

The Committee claimed that the U.S. Department of Commerce wrongly considered an assembled window wall system as the end product instead of curtainwall units that could be made by combining several systems. However, the Committee noted that the Federal Circuit had already ruled in a decision known as Shenyang Yuanda that curtainwall units aren’t eligible for the tariff exemption.

Vaden disagreed. He wrote that the DOC granted Reflection duty exclusions but excluded window wall systems that could be connected to form curtainwalls.

“The situation in Shenyang Yuanda was different because fifty curtainwall units are not fifty final finished goods,” Vaden wrote. “That shipment is just half a curtainwall. A curtainwall is like an outer cage that encircles a building. If a company shipped a dog cage in two shipments of three metal panels each, those would add up to one finished good: the entire dog cage. There is no individual, consumptive use for each metal panel; and three of them are no more useful than one. The metal panels are entirely dependent on one another for their function.”