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Notice

Extruded Rubber Thread From Malaysia; Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

SUMMARY:

In response to a request by the petitioner and two producers/exporters of the subject merchandise, the Department of Commerce is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on extruded rubber thread from Malaysia. This review covers three manufacturers/exporters of the subject merchandise to the United States (Filati Lastex Sdn. Bhd., Heveafil Sdn. Bhd./Filmax Sdn. Bhd, and Rubberflex Sdn. Bhd.). The period of review is October 1, 1998, through September 30, 1999.

We have preliminarily determined that sales have been made below the normal value by each of the three companies subject to this review. If these preliminary results are adopted in the final results of this administrative review, we will instruct the Customs Service to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries.

We invite interested parties to comment on these preliminary results. Parties who wish to submit comments in this proceeding are requested to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; and (2) a brief summary of the argument.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

November 3, 2000.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Irina Itkin, Office of AD/CVD Enforcement, Office 2, Import Administration, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-0656.

Applicable Statute and Regulations

Unless otherwise indicated, all citations to the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), are references to the provisions effective January 1, 1995, the effective date of the amendments made to the Act by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA). In addition, unless otherwise indicated, all citations to the Department's regulations are to the regulations at 19 CFR part 351 (1999).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On October 20, 1999, the Department of Commerce (the Department) published in the Federal Register a notice of “Opportunity to Request an Administrative Review” of the antidumping duty order on extruded rubber thread from Malaysia (64 FR 56485).

In accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(b)(1), on October 21, 1999, the petitioner, North American Rubber Thread, requested an administrative review of the antidumping order covering the period October 1, 1998, through September 30, 1999, for the following producers and exporters of extruded rubber thread: Filati Lastex Sdn. Bhd. (Filati), Heveafil Sdn. Bhd./Filmax Sdn. Bhd. (Heveafil), and Rubberflex Sdn. Bhd. (Rubberflex). On October 29, 1999, Filati and Heveafil also requested an administrative review.

On November 23, 1999, the Department initiated an administrative review for Filati, Heveafil, and Rubberflex (64 FR 67846 (Dec. 3, 1999)). The Department also issued questionnaires to each of these companies in November.

In March 2000, we received responses from Filati, Heveafil, and Rubberflex.

In June, July, and September 2000, we issued supplemental questionnaires to Filati, Heveafil, and Rubberflex. We received responses to these questionnaires in September 2000.

In October 2000, we issued additional supplemental questionnaires to Rubberflex. We received responses to these questionnaires in October 2000.

Scope of the Review

The product covered by this review is extruded rubber thread. Extruded rubber thread is defined as vulcanized rubber thread obtained by extrusion of stable or concentrated natural rubber latex of any cross sectional shape, measuring from 0.18 mm, which is 0.007 inch or 140 gauge, to 1.42 mm, which is 0.056 inch or 18 gauge, in diameter. Extruded rubber thread is currently classifiable under subheading 4007.00.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes. The written description of the scope of this review is dispositive.

Period of Review

The period of review (POR) is October 1, 1998, through September 30, 1999.

Normal Value Comparisons

To determine whether sales of extruded rubber thread from Malaysia to the United States were made at less than normal value (NV), we compared the export price (EP) to the NV for Rubberflex, as specified in the “Export Price and Constructed Export Price” and “Normal Value” sections of this notice, below. We compared the constructed export price (CEP) to the NV for Filati and Heveafil, also as specified in those sections.

When making comparisons in accordance with section 771(16) of the Act, we considered all products sold in the home market as described in the “Scope of the Review” section of this Start Printed Page 66233notice, above, that were in the ordinary course of trade for purposes of determining appropriate product comparisons to U.S. sales. Where there were no sales of identical merchandise in the home market made in the ordinary course of trade (i.e., sales within the contemporaneous window which passed the cost test), we compared U.S. sales to sales of the most similar foreign like product made in the ordinary course of trade, based on the characteristics listed in sections B and C of our antidumping questionnaire, or constructed value (CV), as appropriate.

Level of Trade and CEP Offset

In accordance with section 773(a)(1)(B) of the Act, to the extent practicable, we determine NV based on sales in the comparison market at the same level of trade as EP or CEP. The NV level of trade is that of the starting-price sales in the comparison market or, when NV is based on CV, that of the sales from which we derive selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) and profit. For EP, the U.S. level of trade is also the level of the starting-price sale, which is usually from the exporter to the importer. For CEP, it is the level of the constructed sale from the exporter to the importer.

To determine whether NV sales are at a different level of trade than EP or CEP sales, we examine stages in the marketing process and selling functions along the chain of distribution between the producer and the unaffiliated customer. If the comparison market sales are at a different level of trade and the difference affects price comparability, as manifested in a pattern of consistent price differences between the sales on which NV is based and comparison-market sales at the level of trade of the export transaction, we make a level of trade adjustment under section 773(a)(7)(A) of the Act. Finally, for CEP sales, if the NV level is more remote from the factory than the CEP level and there is no basis for determining whether the difference in the levels between NV and CEP affects price comparability, we adjust NV under section 773(a)(7)(B) of the Act (the CEP offset provision). See Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon Steel Plate from South Africa, 62 FR 61731 (Nov. 19, 1997).

We note that the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) has held that the Department's practice of determining levels of trade for CEP transactions after CEP deductions is an impermissible interpretation of section 772(d) of the Act. See Borden, Inc. v. United States, 4 F. Supp. 2d 1221, 1241-42 (CIT 1998) (Borden). The Department believes, however, that its practice is in full compliance with the statute. On June 4, 1999, the CIT entered final judgement in Borden on the level of trade issue. See Borden Inc. v. United States, Court No. 96-08-01970, Slip Op. 99-50 (CIT June 4, 1999). The government has filed an appeal of Borden which is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Consequently, the Department has continued to follow its normal practice of adjusting CEP under section 772(d) prior to starting a level of trade analysis, as articulated by the Department's regulations at section 351.412.

Filati, Heveafil, and Rubberflex claimed that they made home market sales at only one level of trade (i.e., sales to original equipment manufacturers). Because each of these respondents performed the same selling activities for sales to all customers in the home market, we determined that all home market sales by each of these companies were at the same level of trade.

Both Filati and Heveafil made CEP sales during the POR. In order to determine whether NV was established at a level of trade which constituted a more advanced stage of distribution than the level of trade of the CEP for these companies, we compared the selling functions performed for home market sales with those performed with respect to the CEP transaction, which excludes economic activities occurring in the United States. We found that Filati and Heveafil performed essentially the same selling functions in their sales offices in Malaysia for both home market and U.S. sales. Therefore, the respondents' sales in Malaysia were not at a more advanced stage of marketing and distribution than the constructed U.S. level of trade, which represents a F.O.B. foreign port price after the deduction of expenses associated with U.S. selling activities. Because we find that no difference in level of trade exists between markets, we have not granted a CEP offset for Filati or Heveafil.

Regarding Rubberflex, we compared the selling functions performed for its home market and export price transactions in order to determine whether a level of trade adjustment was warranted. We found that Rubberflex performed essentially the same selling functions for its U.S. and home market sales and that, therefore, no level of trade adjustment is warranted for this company.

Export Price and Constructed Export Price

For Rubberflex, we based the U.S. price on EP, in accordance with section 772(a) of the Act, when the subject merchandise was sold directly to the first unaffiliated purchaser in the United States prior to importation and CEP methodology was not otherwise warranted.

For Filati and Heveafil, we based the U.S. price on CEP where sales to the unaffiliated purchaser took place after importation into the United States, in accordance with section 772(b) of the Act. We also based U.S. price on CEP for Filati and Heveafil where the merchandise was shipped directly to certain unaffiliated customers because we found that the extent of the affiliates' activities performed in the United States in connection with those sales was significant.

A. Filati

We calculated CEP based on the starting price to the first unaffiliated purchaser in the United States. In accordance with section 772(c)(1)(B) of the Act, we added an amount for uncollected import duties in Malaysia. We made deductions from the starting price, where appropriate, for rebates. In addition, where appropriate, we made deductions for foreign inland freight, foreign brokerage and handling expenses, ocean freight, marine insurance, U.S. customs duty, U.S. brokerage and handling expenses, U.S. inland freight, and U.S. warehousing expenses, in accordance with section 772(c)(2)(A) of the Act.

We made additional deductions from CEP, where appropriate, for commissions, credit expenses, and U.S. indirect selling expenses, including U.S. inventory carrying costs, in accordance with section 772(d)(1) of the Act. We disallowed an offset claimed by Filati relating to imputed costs associated with financing antidumping and countervailing duty deposits, in accordance with the Department's practice. See Extruded Rubber Thread from Malaysia; Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 65 FR 6140, 6142 (Feb. 8, 2000) (Thread Sixth Review); Extruded Rubber Thread from Malaysia; Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 64 FR 12967, 12968 (Mar. 16, 1999); Extruded Rubber Thread from Malaysia; Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 63 FR 12752, 12754 (Mar. 16, 1998); and Antifriction Bearings (Other Than Tapered Roller Bearings) and Parts Thereof from France, Germany, Italy, Start Printed Page 66234Japan, Romania, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom; Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Reviews, 62 FR 54043, 54075 (Oct. 17, 1997).

Pursuant to section 772(d)(3) of the Act, we further reduced the starting price by an amount for profit to arrive at CEP. In accordance with section 772(f) of the Act, we calculated the CEP profit rate using the expenses incurred by Filati and its affiliate on their sales of the subject merchandise in the United States and the foreign like product in the home market and the profit associated with those sales.

B. Heveafil

We calculated CEP based on the starting price to the first unaffiliated customer in the United States. In accordance with section 772(c)(1)(B) of the Act, we added an amount for uncollected import duties in Malaysia. We made deductions from the starting price, where appropriate, for rebates. We also made deductions for foreign inland freight, foreign brokerage and handling expenses, ocean freight, marine insurance, U.S. customs duty, U.S. brokerage and handling expenses, U.S. inland freight, and U.S. warehousing expenses, in accordance with section 772(c)(2)(A) of the Act.

We made additional deductions to CEP, where appropriate, for credit expenses and U.S. indirect selling expenses, including U.S. inventory carrying costs, in accordance with section 772(d)(1) of the Act.

Pursuant to section 772(d)(3) of the Act, we further reduced the starting price by an amount for profit to arrive at CEP. In accordance with section 772(f) of the Act, we calculated the CEP profit rate using the expenses incurred by Heveafil and its affiliate on their sales of the subject merchandise in the United States and the foreign like product in the home market and the profit associated with those sales.

C. Rubberflex

We based EP on the starting price to the first unaffiliated purchaser in the United States. We made deductions from the starting price, where appropriate, for rebates. We also made deductions, where appropriate, for foreign inland freight, foreign brokerage and handling expenses, ocean freight, marine insurance, U.S. customs duty, U.S. inland freight, and U.S. warehousing expenses, in accordance with section 772(c)(2)(A) of the Act.

Normal Value

In order to determine whether there was a sufficient volume of sales in the home market to serve as a viable basis for calculating NV (i.e., the aggregate volume of home market sales of the foreign like product is greater than five percent of the aggregate volume of U.S. sales), we compared the volume of each respondent's home market sales of the foreign like product to the volume of U.S. sales of subject merchandise, in accordance with section 773(a)(1)(C) of the Act. Based on this comparison, we determined that each respondent had a viable home market during the POR. Consequently, we based NV on home market sales.

Pursuant to section 773(b)(2)(A)(ii) of the Act, there were reasonable grounds to believe or suspect that Filati, Heveafil, and Rubberflex had made home market sales at prices below their costs of production (COPs) in this review because the Department had disregarded sales below the COP for these companies in the most recent administrative review. See Thread Sixth Review, 65 FR at 6143. As a result, the Department initiated an investigation to determine whether the respondents made home market sales during the POR at prices below their respective COPs.

We calculated the COP based on the sum of each respondent's cost of materials and fabrication for the foreign like product, plus amounts for SG&A and packing costs, in accordance with section 773(b)(3) of the Act.

We compared the COP figures to home market prices of the foreign like product, as required under section 773(b) of the Act, in order to determine whether these sales had been made at prices below the COP. On a product-specific basis, we compared the COP to home market prices, less any applicable movement charges, discounts, rebates, and packing costs.

In determining whether to disregard home market sales made at prices below the COP, we examined whether such sales were made: (1) In substantial quantities within an extended period of time; and (2) at prices which permitted the recovery of all costs within a reasonable period of time in the normal course of trade. See section 773(b)(1) of the Act.

Pursuant to section 773(b)(2)(C)(i) of the Act, where less than 20 percent of a respondent's sales of a given product were at prices less than the COP, we did not disregard any below-cost sales of that product because we determined that the below-cost sales were not made in “substantial quantities.” Where 20 percent or more of a respondent's sales of a given product were at prices below the COP, we found that sales of that model were made in “substantial quantities” within an extended period of time (as defined in section 773(b)(2)(B) of the Act), in accordance with section 773(b)(2)(C)(i) of the Act. In such cases, we also determined that such sales were not made at prices which would permit recovery of all costs within a reasonable period of time, in accordance with section 773(b)(2)(D) of the Act. Therefore, we disregarded the below-cost sales. Where all sales of a specific product were at prices below the COP, we disregarded all sales of that product.

We found that, for certain models of extruded rubber thread, more than 20 percent of each respondent's home market sales within an extended period of time were at prices less than COP. Further, the prices did not provide for the recovery of costs within a reasonable period of time. We therefore disregarded the below-cost sales and used the remaining sales as the basis for determining NV, in accordance with section 773(b)(1) of the Act. For those U.S. sales of extruded rubber thread for which there were no comparable home market sales in the ordinary course of trade, we compared EP or CEP, as appropriate, to CV, in accordance with section 773(a)(4) of the Act.

In accordance with section 773(e) of the Act, we calculated CV based on the sum of each respondent's cost of materials, fabrication, SG&A, profit, and U.S. packing costs. In accordance with section 773(e)(2)(A) of the Act, we based SG&A and profit on the amounts incurred and realized by each respondent in connection with the production and sale of the foreign like product in the ordinary course of trade for consumption in the foreign country.

Company-specific calculations are discussed below.

A. Filati

Where NV was based on home market sales, we based NV on the starting price to unaffiliated customers. For all price-to-price comparisons, we made deductions from the starting price for rebates, where appropriate. We also made deductions, where appropriate, for foreign inland freight, pursuant to section 773(a)(6)(B) of the Act. Pursuant to section 773(a)(6)(C)(iii) of the Act, we also made deductions for home market credit expenses and bank charges. Where applicable, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.410(e), we offset any commission paid on a U.S. sale by reducing the NV by the amount of home market indirect selling expenses and inventory carrying costs, up to the amount of the U.S. commission.

In addition, we deducted home market packing costs and added U.S. packing costs, in accordance with Start Printed Page 66235section 773(a)(6) of the Act. Where appropriate, we made adjustments to NV to account for differences in physical characteristics of the merchandise, in accordance with section 773(a)(6)(C)(ii) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.411.

For CV-to-CEP comparisons, we made an adjustment, where appropriate, for differences in credit expenses, in accordance with sections 773(a)(6)(C)(iii) and 773(a)(8) of the Act. Where applicable, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.410(e), we offset any commission paid on a U.S. sale by reducing the NV by the amount of home market indirect selling expenses and inventory carrying costs, up to the amount of the U.S. commission.

B. Heveafil

Where NV was based on home market sales, we based NV on the starting price to unaffiliated customers. We made deductions from the starting price for discounts. We also made deductions for foreign inland freight and foreign inland insurance, pursuant to section 773(a)(6)(B) of the Act. Pursuant to section 773(a)(6)(C)(iii) if the Act, we also made deductions for home market credit expenses.

In addition, we deducted home market packing costs and added U.S. packing costs, in accordance with section 773(a)(6) of the Act. Where appropriate, we made adjustments to NV to account for differences in physical characteristics of the merchandise, in accordance with section 773(a)(6)(c)(ii) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.411.

C. Rubberflex

Where NV was based on home market sales, we based NV on the starting price to unaffiliated customers. We made deductions from the starting price for foreign inland freight expenses, pursuant to section 773(a)(6)(B) of the Act.

Pursuant to section 773(a)(6)(C)(iii) if the Act, we made circumstance of sale adjustments for differences in credit expenses.

In addition, we deducted home market packing costs and added U.S. packing costs, in accordance with section 773(a)(6) of the Act. Where appropriate, we made adjustments to NV to account for differences in physical characteristics of the merchandise, in accordance with section 773(a)(6)(C)(ii) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.411.

For CV-to-EP comparisons, we made circumstance of sale adjustments, where appropriate, for differences in credit expenses, in accordance with sections 773(a)(6)(C)(iii) and 773(a)(8) of the Act.

Currency Conversion

We made currency conversions into U.S. dollars based on the exchange rates in effect on the dates of the U.S. sales as certified by the Federal Reserve Bank.

Section 773A of the Act directs the Department to use a daily exchange rate in order to convert foreign currencies into U.S. dollars unless the daily rate involves a fluctuation. It is the Department's practice to find that a fluctuation exists when the daily exchange rate differs from the benchmark rate by 2.25 percent. The benchmark is defined as the moving average of rates for the past 40 business days. When we determine a fluctuation to have existed, we substitute the benchmark for the daily rate, in accordance with established practice.

Preliminary Results of Review

As a result of our review, we preliminarily determine that the following margins exist for the period October 1, 1998, through September 30, 1999:

Manufacturer/exporterPercent margin
Filati Lastex Sdn. Bhd.18.49
Heveafil Sdn. Bhd./
Filmax Sdn. Bhd.0.04
Rubberflex Sdn. Bhd0.14

The Department will disclose to parties the calculations performed in connection with these preliminary results within five days of the date of publication of this notice. Interested parties may request a hearing within 30 days of the publication. Any hearing, if requested, will be held seven days after the date rebuttal briefs are filed. Interested parties may submit case briefs not later than 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in the case briefs, may be filed not later than 37 days after the date of publication of this notice. The Department will publish a notice of the final results of this administrative review, which will include the results of its analysis of issues raised in any such case briefs, within 120 days of the publication of these preliminary results.

Upon completion of this administrative review, the Department shall determine, and the Customs Service shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. We calculate importer-specific assessment rates based on the ratio of the total amount of antidumping duties calculated for the examined sales to the total entered value of those sales, where available. Where the entered value is not available, we calculate a quantity-based assessment rate. These rates will be assessed uniformly on all entries of particular importers made during the POR. Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.106(c)(2), we will instruct the Customs Service to liquidate without regard to antidumping duties all entries for any importer for whom the assessment rate is de minimis (i.e., less than 0.50) percent. The Department will issue appraisement instructions directly to the Customs Service.

Further, the following deposit requirements will be effective for all shipments of extruded rubber thread from Malaysia entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of the final results of this administrative review, as provided for by section 751(a)(1) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rates for Filati, Heveafil, and Rubberflex will be the rates established in the final results of this review, except if the rate is less than 0.50 percent and, therefore, de minimis within the meaning of 19 CFR 351.106, the cash deposit will be zero; (2) for previously reviewed or investigated companies not listed above, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company-specific rate published for the most recent period; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a prior review, or the less-than-fair-value (LTFV) investigation, but the manufacturer is, the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recent period for the manufacturer of the merchandise; and (4) the cash deposit rate for all other manufacturers or exporters will continue to be 15.16 percent, the all others rate established in the LTFV investigation.

These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until publication of the final results of the next administrative review.

This notice serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

This administrative review and notice are in accordance with section 751(a)(1) of the Act and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

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Dated: October 30, 2000.

Troy H. Cribb,

Assistant Secretary for Import Administration.

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[FR Doc. 00-28285 Filed 11-2-00; 8:45 am]

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