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Notice

Notice of Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation: Certain Colored Synthetic Organic Oleoresinous Pigment Dispersions From India

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AGENCY:

Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

July 2, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Geoffrey Craig at (202) 482-5256 or Stephen Cho at (202) 482-3798, Import Administration, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230.

Initiation of Investigation

The Petition

On June 5, 2003, the Department of Commerce (“the Department”) received a petition filed in proper form by Apollo Colors Inc., General Press Colors, Ltd., Magruder Color Company, Inc., and Sun Chemical Corporation (collectively, “the petitioners”). The Department received petition supplements on June 16, June 18, and June 20, 2003.

In accordance with section 702(b)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (“the Act”), as amended, the petitioners allege that manufacturers, producers, or exporters of certain colored synthetic organic oleoresinous pigment dispersions (“colored pigment dispersions”) from India receive countervailable subsidies within the meaning of section 701 of the Act, and that such imports from India are materially injuring, or are threatening to materially injure, an industry in the United States.

The Department finds that the petitioners filed this petition on behalf of the domestic industry because they are interested parties as defined in section 771(9)(C) of the Act and they have demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the countervailing investigation that they are requesting the Department to initiate. See infra, “Determination of Industry Support for the Petition.”

Scope of Investigation

The products covered by this investigation are colored synthetic organic pigment dispersions containing pigments classified in either the Azo or Phthalocyanine chemical classes that have been dispersed in an oleoresinous varnish comprised of various combinations of solvents, oils and resins. The subject pigment dispersions are commonly known as “flush” or “flushed color,” but the base form of the subject pigment dispersions is also included in the scope of this investigation. The subject pigment dispersions are a thick putty or paste that contain by weight typically 20 percent or more pigment dispersed in the varnish, and are used primarily for the manufacture of letterpress and lithographic printing inks. The presence of additives, such as surfactants, antioxidants, wetting agents, and driers, in the subject pigment dispersions does not exclude them from the scope of this investigation.

Excluded from the scope of this investigation are dry powder pigments and pigment press cakes, as well as water and flammable solvent based colored pigment dispersions, which typically are used in manufacturing liquid or fluid inks. Also excluded is Yellow 75, which is typically used to make the yellow paint to line roads.

The merchandise subject to this investigation is classifiable under subheadings 3204.17.6020 (Pigment Blue 15:4), 3204.17.6085 (Pigments Red 48:1, Red 48:2, Red 48:3, and Yellow 174), 3204.17.9005 (Pigment Blue 15:3), 3204.17.9010 (Pigment Green 7), 3204.17.9015 (Pigment Green 36), 3204.17.9020 (Pigment Red 57:1), 3204.17.9045 (Pigment Yellow 12), 3204.17.9050 (Pigment Yellow 13), 3204.17.9055 (Pigment Yellow 74), and 3204.17.9086 [1] (Pigments Red 22, Red 48:4, Red 49:1, Red 49:2, Red 52:1, Red 53:1, Yellow 14, and Yellow 83) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTS”). Although the HTS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the Start Printed Page 39524written description of the merchandise under investigation is dispositive.

As discussed in the preamble to the Department's regulations (Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties; Final Rule, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997)), we are setting aside a period for parties to raise issues regarding product coverage. The Department encourages all parties to submit such comments within 20 calendar days of publication of this notice. Comments should be addressed to Import Administration's Central Records Unit, Room 1870, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230. The period of scope consultations is intended to provide the Department with ample opportunity to consider all comments and consult with parties prior to the issuance of the preliminary determination.

Consultations

Pursuant to section 702(b)(4)(A)(ii) of the Act, the Department invited representatives of the Government of India (“GOI”) for consultations with respect to the petition filed in this proceeding. However, the GOI declined our invitation, and therefore consultations were not held.

Determination of Industry Support for the Petition

Section 702(b)(1) of the Act require that a petition be filed on behalf of the domestic industry. Section 702(c)(4)(A) of the Act provide that the Department's industry support determination, which is to be made before the initiation of the investigation, be based on whether a minimum percentage of the relevant industry supports the petition. A petition meets this requirement if the domestic producers or workers who support the petition account for: (1) at least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product; and (2) more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the petition. Moreover, section 702(c)(4)(D) of the Act provide that, if the petition does not establish support of domestic producers or workers accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product, the Department shall: (i) poll the industry or rely on other information in order to determine if there is support for the petition, as required by subparagraph (A), or (ii) determine industry support using a statistically valid sampling method.

Section 771(4)(A) of the Act defines the “industry” as the producers of a domestic like product. Thus, to determine whether a petition has the requisite industry support, the statute directs the Department to look to producers and workers who produce the domestic like product. The International Trade Commission (“ITC”), which is responsible for determining whether “the domestic industry” has been injured, must also determine what constitutes a domestic like product in order to define the industry. While both the Department and the ITC must apply the same statutory definition regarding the domestic like product (section 771(10) of the Act), they do so for different purposes and pursuant to a separate and distinct authority. In addition, the Department's determination is subject to limitations of time and information. Although this may result in different definitions of the like product, such differences do not render the decision of either agency contrary to the law.[2]

Section 771(10) of the Act defines the domestic like product as “a product which is like, or in the absence of like, most similar in characteristics and uses with, the article subject to an investigation under this title.” Thus, the reference point from which the domestic like product analysis begins is “the article subject to an investigation,” i.e., the class or kind of merchandise to be investigated, which normally will be the scope as defined in the petition.

With regard to the definition of domestic like product, the petitioners do not offer a definition of domestic like product distinct from the scope of the investigation. Based on our analysis of the information presented by the petitioners, we have determined that there is a single domestic like product, colored pigment dispersions, which is defined in the “Scope of Investigation” section above, and we have analyzed industry support in terms of this domestic like product.

In their initial petition and subsequent submissions, the petitioners state that they comprise over 50 percent of U.S. colored pigment dispersions production. The petition identifies nine additional U.S. companies engaged in the production of colored pigment dispersions, none of which have taken a position on (either for or against) the petition. Through data provided by the petitioners and our own independent research, we have determined that the colored pigment dispersions production of these nine companies is not high enough to place the petitioners' industry support in jeopardy. Based on all available information, we agree that the petitioners comprise over 50 percent of all domestic colored pigment dispersions production.

Our review of the data provided in the petition and other information readily available to the Department indicates that the petitioners have established industry support representing over 50 percent of total production of the domestic like product, requiring no further action by the Department pursuant to section 702(c)(4)(D) of the Act. In addition, the Department received no opposition to the petition from domestic producers of the like product. Therefore, the domestic producers or workers who support the petition account for at least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product, and the requirements of section 702(c)(4)(A)(i) of the Act are met. Furthermore, the domestic producers or workers who support the petition account for more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for or opposition to the petition. Thus, the requirements of section 702(c)(4)(A)(ii) of the Act also are met. Accordingly, the Department determines that the petition was filed on behalf of the domestic industry within the meaning of section 702(b)(1) of the Act. For more information on our analysis and the data upon which we relied, see Import Administration AD/CVD Enforcement Initiation Checklist (“Initiation Checklist”), Industry Support section and Attachment II, dated June 25, 2003, on file in the Central Records Unit of the main Department of Commerce building.

Injury Test

Because India is a “Subsidies Agreement Country” within the meaning of section 701(b) of the Act, section 701(a)(2) applies to these investigations. Accordingly, the ITC must determine whether imports of the subject merchandise from India materially injure, or threaten material injury to, a U.S. industry.

Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation

The petitioners allege that the U.S. industry producing the domestic like product is being materially injured, or is threatened with material injury, by reason of imports of the subject merchandise. Start Printed Page 39525

The petitioners contend that the industry's injured condition is evident in the declining trends in net operating profits, net sales volumes, profit-to-sales ratios, and production employment. The allegations of injury and causation are supported by relevant evidence including U.S. import data, lost sales, and pricing information. We have assessed the allegations and supporting evidence regarding material injury and causation, and we have determined that these allegations are properly supported by adequate evidence and meet statutory requirements for initiation. See the Initiation Checklist.

Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation

The Department has examined the countervailing duty petition on colored pigment dispersions from India and found that it complies with the requirements of section 702(b) of the Act. Therefore, in accordance with section 702(b) of the Act, we are initiating countervailing duty investigation to determine whether manufacturers, producers, or exporters of colored pigment dispersions receive countervailable subsidies. We will make our preliminary determination no later than 65 days after the date of this initiation, unless this deadline is extended pursuant to section 703(b)(1) of the Act.

We are including in our investigation the following programs alleged in the petition to have provided a countervailable subsidy to manufacturers, producers, or exporters of colored pigment dispersions:

1. Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme

2. Advance Licenses

3. Duty Free Replenishment Certificate Scheme

4. Import Mechanism (Sale of Licenses)

5. Pre-Shipment and Post-Shipment Export Financing

6. Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme (“EPCGS”)

7. Benefits for Export Processing Zones/Export Oriented Units (“EPZ/EOU”)

8. Special Imprest Licenses (Deemed Exports)

9. Incentive Scheme for Export Oriented Park, Export Oriented Units (State of Gujarat Infrastructure Assistance Scheme)

10. Subsidy Scheme for Medium and Large Industries (State of Gujarat Infrastructure Assistance Scheme)

11. Income Tax Exemption Scheme (“ITES”) (Sections 10A, 10B and 80HHC)

12. Re-Discounting of Export Bills Abroad (“EBR”)

13. Pre-Export and Post-Export Credits in Foreign Country

14. Exemption of Export Credit from Interest Taxes

15. Central Value Added Tax (“CENVAT”) Scheme

16. Market Access Initiative (“MAI”)

A discussion of evidence supporting our initiation determination on these programs is contained in the Initiation Checklist.

At this time, we are not including in our investigation of colored pigment dispersions the following programs alleged to benefit producers and exporters of the subject merchandise in India.

1. Special Economic Zones (State of Gujarat Infrastructure Assistance Scheme)

According to the petitioners, the State of Gujarat infrastructure provides assistance to industrial units located in special economic zones under its Special Economic Zones scheme. Under the program, industrial units located in SEZs in Gujarat will receive incentives including exemption from electrical duty for ten years and exemption from payment of sales and other levies. Petitioners claim that this program results in revenue forgone by the State of Gujarat and is specific to companies located within a designated geographic region of Gujarat.

In Final Negative Countervailing Duty Determination; Carbon Steel Wire Rod From Singapore, 51 FR 3357 (January 27, 1986), we found that the right to locate in an industrial park can confer a subsidy only if the government limits the firms that can locate in the industrial park. The petitioners have provided no information indicating that the State of Gujarat is limiting access to the SEZ. Thus, the petitioners have not provided sufficient evidence that this alleged subsidy is specific within the meaning of section 771(5A) of the Act and section 351.502 of the Department's regulations.

2. Financial Assistance for Upgradation of Quality in SSI/Medium & Large Scale Sector (State of Gujarat Infrastructure Assistance Scheme)

According to the petitioners, the State of Gujarat provides infrastructure assistance to registered industrial units under its Financial Assistance for Upgradation of Quality in SSI/Medium & Large Scale Section. This alleged program applies to “all industrial units which have been registered as a SSI/SSEB with respective DICs or/and industries registered under Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 as amended * * *.” Under this alleged program, eligible industrial units are eligible for government reimbursements of up to 50 percent for expenditures such as consultant fees and equipment for research and development, and testing equipment. Petitioners claim that this alleged program results in a direct transfer of funds from the State of Gujarat that benefit the recipients in the amount of the infrastructure expenses paid.

The petitioners have provided no information indicating that the benefits provided under this program are specific. In particular, there is no information that the eligible companies comprise a specific group of industries within the meaning of section 771(5A) of the Act and section 351.502 of the Department's regulations.

3. GOI Loans, Loan Guarantees, and Loan Forgiveness

According to the petitioners, the Indian Ministry of Finance extends loan guarantees to selected Indian companies on an ad hoc basis and continues to extend loan guarantees to non-steel industrial sectors on an ad hoc basis. Petitioners assert that the GOI has been found to provide loans on terms that are more favorable than commercially available. Petitioners also claim that the GOI has forgiven past loans in some cases. Lastly, the petitioners allege that Hindustan and other Indian producers and exporters of subject merchandise have received countervailable subsidies in the forms of GOI loans, loan guarantees, and loan forgiveness.

The petitioners have provided no information to support their supposition that manufacturers and exporters of the subject merchandise received loans, loan guarantees, or debt forgiveness.

Distribution of Copies of the Petition

In accordance with section 702(b)(4)(A)(i)) of the Act, a copy of the public version of the petition has been provided to the representatives of the Government of India. We will attempt to provide a copy of the public version of the petition to each exporter named in the petition, as provided for under 19 CFR 351.203(c)(2).

ITC Notification

We have notified the ITC of our initiation as required by section 702(d) of the Act.

Preliminary Determination by the ITC

The ITC will preliminarily determine no later than July 21, 2003, whether there is a reasonable indication that imports of Certain Colored Synthetic Organic Oleoresinous Pigment Dispersions from India are causing material injury, or threatening to cause material injury, to a U.S. industry. A Start Printed Page 39526negative ITC determination will result in the investigation being terminated, otherwise, this investigation will proceed according to statutory and regulatory time limits.

This notice is issued and published pursuant to section 777(i) of the Act.

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Dated: June 25, 2003.

Joseph A. Spetrini,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Import Administration.

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Footnotes

1.  Prior to July 2002, this number was 3204.17.9085.

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2.  See USEC, Inc. v. United States, 132 F. Supp. 2d 1,8 (Ct. Intl Trade 2001), citing Algoma Steel Corp. Ltd. v. United States, 688 F Supp. 639, 642-44 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1988) (“the ITC does not look behind ITA's determination, but accepts ITAs determination as to which merchandise is in the class of merchandise sold at LTFV”).

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[FR Doc. 03-16670 Filed 7-1-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P