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Notice

Notice of Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Granular Polytetrafluoroethylene Resin From Italy

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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 Commerce.

SUMMARY:

In response to requests by the respondent, Ausimont SpA and Ausimont USA (Ausimont), and the petitioner, E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company (DuPont), the Department of Commerce (the Department) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on granular polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) resin from Italy. The period of review (POR) is August 1, 2000, through July 31, 2001.

We preliminarily determine that sales have been made below normal value (NV). If these preliminary results are adopted in our final results, we will instruct the U.S. Customs Service to assess antidumping duties based on the difference between the constructed export price and NV.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

September 10, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Vicki Schepker or Constance Handley, at (202) 482-1756 or (202) 482-0631, respectively; AD/CVD Enforcement Office V, Group II, Import Administration, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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. In addition, unless Start Printed Page 57377otherwise indicated, all citations to the Department's regulations are to 19 CFR Part 351 (2001).

Case History

On August 30, 1988, the Department published in the Federal Register the antidumping duty order on granular PTFE resin from Italy (53 FR 33163). On August 1, 2001, the Department issued a notice of opportunity to request the 13th administrative review of this order, for the period August 1, 2000, through July 31, 2001. See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 66 FR 39729 (August 1, 2001). Pursuant to this notice, on August 30 and 31, 2001, the petitioner and Ausimont, respectively, requested that the Department conduct an administrative review. We published the notice of initiation of this antidumping duty administrative review on October 1, 2001. See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews and Requests for Revocation in Part, 66 FR 49924 (October 1, 2001).

We issued an antidumping questionnaire to Ausimont on October 17, 2001, followed by a supplemental questionnaire on August 8, 2002. Included in that questionnaire was a reiteration of the Department's previous request that Ausimont report its production costs on a POR-basis. It also included instructions regarding the reporting of what Ausimont claims are sales of “off-spec” merchandise. We received timely responses to the antidumping questionnaire and section C of the supplemental questionnaire.1

Scope of the Review

The product covered by this order is granular PTFE resin, filled or unfilled. This order also covers PTFE wet raw polymer exported from Italy to the United States. See Final Affirmative Determination; Granular Polytetrafluoroethylene Resin from Italy, 58 FR 26100 (April 30, 1993). This order excludes PTFE dispersions in water and fine powders. During the period covered by this review, such merchandise was classified under item number 3904.61.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). We are providing this HTS number for convenience and U.S. Customs purposes only. The written description of the scope remains dispositive.

Fair Value Comparisons

We compared the constructed export price (CEP) to the NV, as described in the Constructed Export Price and Normal Value sections of this notice. Pursuant to section 777A(d)(2) of the Act, we compared the CEPs of individual transactions to contemporaneous monthly weighted-average prices of sales of the foreign like product.

We first attempted to compare contemporaneous sales of products sold in the United States and the comparison market that were identical with respect to the following characteristics: type, filler, percentage of filler, and grade. Where we were unable to compare sales of identical merchandise, we compared U.S. sales with comparison market sales of the most similar merchandise.

Constructed Export Price

For all sales to the United States, we calculated CEP, as defined in section 772(b) of the Act, because all sales to unaffiliated parties were made after importation of the subject merchandise into the United States through the respondent's affiliate, Ausimont USA. We based CEP on the packed, delivered prices to unaffiliated purchasers in the United States, net of billing adjustments. We adjusted these prices for movement expenses, including international freight, marine insurance, brokerage and handling in the United States, U.S. inland freight, and U.S. customs duties, in accordance with section 772(c)(2)(A) of the Act.

In accordance with section 772(d)(1) of the Act, we deducted selling expenses incurred by the affiliated seller in connection with economic activity in the United States. These expenses include credit, inventory carrying costs, and indirect expenses incurred by Ausimont USA.

With respect to sales involving imported wet raw polymer that was further manufactured into finished PTFE resin in the United States, we deducted the cost of such further manufacturing in accordance with section 772(d)(2) of the Act.2

Finally, we made an adjustment for the profit allocated to the above-referenced selling and further manufacturing expenses, in accordance with section 772(d)(3) of the Act.

Normal Value

A. Selection of Comparison Markets

In order to determine whether there was a sufficient volume of sales of granular PTFE resin in the home market to serve as a viable basis for calculating NV, we compared Ausimont's volume of home market sales of the foreign like product to the volume of U.S. sales of the subject merchandise, in accordance with section 773(a) of the Act. Because the aggregate volume of home market sales of the foreign like product was greater than five percent of the respective aggregate volume of U.S. sales for the subject merchandise, we determined that the home market provided a viable basis for calculating NV. Therefore, in accordance with section 773(a)(1)(B)(i) of the Act, we based NV on the prices at which the foreign like product was first sold for consumption in the exporting country, in the usual commercial quantities and in the ordinary course of trade.

B. Cost of Production Analysis

Because we disregarded below-cost sales in the calculation of the final results of the 12th administrative review, we had reasonable grounds to believe or suspect that home market sales of the foreign like product by Ausimont had been made at prices below the cost of production (COP) during the period of this review. Therefore, pursuant to section 773(b)(1) of the Act, we initiated a COP investigation regarding home market sales.

Initially, Ausimont calculated its model-specific costs of production on a calendar year basis. On August 8, 2002, we issued a supplemental questionnaire requesting that Ausimont report its costs on a POR basis.

1. Calculation of COP

In accordance with section 773(b)(3) of the Act, we calculated the model-Start Printed Page 57378specific, weighted-average COP, by model, based on the sum of the cost of materials and fabrication for the foreign like product, plus amounts for general and administrative expenses, interest expenses, selling expenses, and packing costs.

2. Test of Home Market Sales Prices

We compared the adjusted weighted-average COP to the home market sales 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 within an extended period of time (i.e., a period of one year) in substantial quantities and whether such prices were sufficient to permit the recovery of all costs within a reasonable period of time.

On a model-specific basis, we compared the COP to home market prices, less any rebates, discounts, applicable movement charges, and direct and indirect selling expenses (which were also deducted from COP).

3. Results of the COP Test

We disregarded below-cost sales where 20 percent or more of the respondent's sales of a given product were made at prices below the COP. We determined such sales were made within an extended period of time in substantial quantities in accordance with sections 773(b)(2)(B) and (C) of the Act and at prices which would not permit recovery of all costs within a reasonable time period, in accordance with section 773(b)(2)(D) of the Act.

C. Calculation of NV Based on Comparison-Market Prices3

We determined home market prices net of price adjustments (i.e., early payment discounts and rebates). Where applicable, we made adjustments for packing and movement expenses, in accordance with sections 773(a)(6)(A) and (B) of the Act. In order to adjust for differences in packing between the two markets, we deducted home market packing costs from NV and added U.S. packing costs. We also made adjustments for differences in costs attributable to differences in physical characteristics of the merchandise, pursuant to section 773(a)(6)(C)(ii) of the Act, and for other differences in the circumstances of sale (COS) in accordance with section 773(a)(6)(C)(iii) of the Act (i.e., differences in credit expenses). Finally, we made a CEP-offset adjustment to the NV for indirect selling expenses pursuant to section 773(a)(7)(B) of the Act as discussed in the Level of Trade/CEP Offset section below.

Level of Trade/CEP Offset

In accordance with section 773(a)(1)(B) of the Act, to the extent practicable, we determine NV based on sales at the same level of trade in the comparison market as the level of trade of the U.S. sales. The NV level of trade is that of the starting-price sales in the comparison market. For CEP sales, such as those made by Ausimont in this review, the U.S. level of trade 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 that of the U.S. 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, 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, e.g., Industrial Nitrocellulose From the United Kingdom; Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 65 FR 6148, 6151 (February 8, 2000) (Industrial Nitrocellulose).

In implementing these principles in this review, we obtained information from Ausimont about the marketing involved in the reported U.S. sales and in the home market sales, including a description of the selling activities performed by Ausimont for each channel of distribution. In identifying levels of trade for CEP and for home market sales, we considered the selling functions reflected in the CEP, after the deduction of expenses and profit under section 772(d) of the Act, and those reflected in the home market starting price before making any adjustments. We expect that, if claimed levels of trade are the same, the functions and activities of the seller should be similar. Conversely, if a party claims that levels of trade are different for different groups of sales, the functions and activities of the seller should be dissimilar.

The record evidence in this review indicates that the home market and the CEP levels of trade have not changed from the 1999-00 review,4 the most recently completed review in this case. As explained below, we determined in this review that, as in the prior review, there was one home market level of trade and one U.S. level of trade (i.e., the CEP level of trade).

In the home market, Ausimont sold directly to fabricators. These sales primarily entailed selling activities such as technical assistance, engineering services, research and development, technical programs, and delivery services. Given this fact pattern, we found that all home market sales were made at a single level of trade. In determining the level of trade for the U.S. sales, we only considered the selling activities reflected in the price after making the appropriate adjustments under section 772(d) of the Act. See, e.g., Industrial Nitrocellulose at 6150. The CEP level of trade involves minimal selling functions such as invoicing and the occasional exchange of personnel between Ausimont SpA and its U.S. affiliate. Given this fact pattern, we found that all U.S. sales were made at a single level of trade.

Based on a comparison of the home market level of trade and this CEP level of trade, we find the home market sales to be at a different level of trade from, and more remote from the factory than, the CEP sales. Section 773(a)(7)(A) of the Act directs us to make an adjustment for difference in levels of trade where such differences affect price comparability. However, we were Start Printed Page 57379unable to quantify such price differences from information on the record. Because we have determined that the home-market level of trade is more remote from the factory than the CEP level of trade, and because the data necessary to calculate a level-of-trade adjustment are unavailable, we made a CEP-offset adjustment to NV pursuant to section 773(a)(7)(B) of the Act.

Currency Conversion

We made currency conversions into U.S. dollars in accordance with section 773A of the Act, based on exchange rates in effect on the date of the U.S. sale, as certified by the Federal Reserve Bank.

Preliminary Results of Review

As a result of this review, we preliminarily determine that the following weighted-average margin exists for the period August 1, 2000, through July 31, 2001:

Exporter/­manufacturerWeighted-average margin percentage
Ausimont SpA3.87

The Department will disclose calculations performed within five days of the date of publication of this notice to the parties of this proceeding in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b). An interested party may request a hearing within 30 days of publication of these preliminary results. See 19 CFR 351.310(c). Any hearing, if requested, will be held 44 days after the date of publication, or the first working day thereafter. Interested parties may submit case briefs and/or written comments no later than 30 days after the date of publication of these preliminary results of review. Rebuttal briefs and rebuttals to written comments, limited to issues raised in such briefs or comments, may be filed no later than 37 days after the date of publication. Parties who submit arguments are requested to submit with the argument (1) a statement of the issue, (2) a brief summary of the argument, and (3) a table of authorities. We encourage parties submitting written comments to provide the Department with an additional copy of the public version of any such comments on diskette. The Department will issue the final results of this administrative review, which will include the results of its analysis of issues raised in any such comments, within 120 days of publication of these preliminary results.

Assessment

Upon completion of this administrative review, the Department will determine, and the Customs Service shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. In accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1), we have calculated an exporter/importer (or customer)-specific assessment rate for merchandise subject to this review. The Department will issue appropriate assessment instructions directly to the Customs Service within 15 days of publication of the final results of review. If these preliminary results are adopted in the final results of review, we will direct the Customs Service to assess the resulting assessment rates against the entered customs values for the subject merchandise on each of the importer's/customer's entries during the review period.

Cash Deposit Requirements

The following deposit requirements will be effective upon completion of the final results of this administrative review for all shipments of granular PTFE resin from Italy entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of the final results of this administrative review, as provided by section 751(a)(1) of the Act: (1) the cash deposit rate for Ausimont will be the rate established in the final results of administrative review; (2) for merchandise exported by manufacturers or exporters not covered in this review but covered in the original less than fair value (LTFV) investigation or a previous review, the cash deposit will continue to be the most recent rate published in the final determination or final results for which the manufacturer or exporter received a company-specific rate; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a previous review, or the original 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) if neither the exporter nor the manufacturer is a firm covered in this or any previous review, the cash deposit rate will be 46.46 percent, the “all others” rate established in the LTFV investigation. See 53 FR 26090 (July 11, 1988).

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

This notice also serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility 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 sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

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Dated: September 3, 2002.

Faryar Shirzad,

Assistant Secretary for Import Administration.

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Footnotes

1.  Due to issues involving the timing of the supplemental questionnaire, we granted Ausimont an extension until September 16, 2002, to respond to sections B and D of the supplemental questionnaire. The information in the response to the supplemental questionnaire may result in changes to our analysis in the final results of the review.

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2.  We note that on November 21, 2001, Ausimont requested that the Department apply the “special rule” in accordance with section 772(e) of the Act. Under the special rule, where the value added to the merchandise by an affiliate is likely to exceed substantially the value of the subject merchandise, the administering authority may determine the constructed export price using the price of identical or similar subject merchandise sold by the exporter or producer to an unaffiliated person, provided that the administering authority determines that the use of such sales is appropriate. On November 29, 2001, we rejected Ausimont"s request, noting that, as in the previous review (where the same issue had been raised) the administrative burden of applying Section 772(d)(2) of the Act in this case is relatively low, and the proportion of the respondent"s further-manufactured sales relative to total sales is sufficiently high to raise concerns about the accuracy of the dumping margin that would result from application of the special rule. See Letter from the Department of Commerce to Ausimont, dated November 29, 2001, including Memorandum from Magd Zalok to Holly Kuga, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Import Administration, dated December 9, 1999, on file in the Central Records Unit (CRU).

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3.  As discussed in the Case History section above, in our August 8, 2002, supplemental questionnaire, we requested that Ausimont report all sales of what the company referred to as “off-spec” merchandise. In a letter of clarification dated August 16, 2002, we further requested that Ausimont include documentation to support the claim that the product sold was in fact “off-spec.” In its August 29, 2002, response to our requests, Ausimont reported sales of “off-spec” merchandise, but failed to provide adequate supporting documentation regarding the product sold. As such, we are unable to determine if these sales are, in fact, sales of “off-spec” merchandise. Furthermore, Ausimont failed to report the actual product codes for these sales and we are unable to compare them to home market sales of identical or similar products. As a result, we are comparing the U.S. sales of “off-spec” merchandise to constructed value (CV). To calculate the CV for these sales, we have chosen the highest cost of production for any product and added amounts for selling expenses, profit and U.S. packing. In accordance with section 773(e)(2)(A) of the Act, we used the actual amounts incurred and realized by the respondent in connection with the production and sale of the foreign like product, in the ordinary course of trade, for consumption in the comparison market to calculate selling expenses and profit.

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4.  See Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; Granular Polytetrafluoroethylene Resin From Italy, 67 FR 1960 (January 15, 2002), and Granular Polytetrafluoroethylene Resin from Italy; Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 66 FR 46996 (September 10, 2001).

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[FR Doc. 02-22993 Filed 9-9-02; 8:45 am]

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