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Notice

Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils from Italy: Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Changed Circumstances Review and Intent to Revoke Order

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AGENCY:

Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

SUMMARY:

On January 4, 2006, in response to a request by domestic producers of the subject merchandise, the Department of Commerce (“the Department”) published a notice of initiation of a changed circumstances review of the countervailing duty order on stainless steel plate in coils, as described below. See Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils from Italy: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Changed Circumstances Review and Notice of Consideration of Revocation of Order, 71 FR 329 (January 4, 2006) (“Initiation Notice”).

In the Initiation Notice, we invited interested parties to comment on the Department's initiation and the proposed revocation of the countervailing duty order on stainless steel sheet and strip in coils from Italy. We did not receive any comments. Absent any comments, we preliminarily conclude that producers accounting for substantially all of the production of the domestic like product to which this order pertains lack interest in the relief provided by the order. Therefore, we preliminarily revoke this order, in whole, with respect to products entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after November 17, 1998, i.e., the publication date of the Department's preliminary determination in the underlying investigation, because domestic parties have expressed no interest in the continuation of the order. See Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Countervailing Duty Determination with Final Antidumping Duty Determination: Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils from Italy, 63 FR 63900 (November 17, 1998) (“Preliminary Determination”). Unless the Department receives opposition from domestic producers whose production totals more than 15 percent of the domestic like product, the Department will revoke the order on stainless steel sheet and strip in coils in the final results of this review.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

February 14, 2006.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Brandon Farlander or Audrey R. Twyman, AD/CVD Operations, Office 1, Import Administration, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-0182 and (202) 482-3534, respectively.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On August 6, 1999, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) published a countervailing duty order on stainless steel sheet and strip in coils (“SSSS”) from Italy. See Amended Final Determination: Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils from the Republic of Korea; and Notice of Countervailing Duty Orders: Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils from France, Italy, and the Republic of Korea, 64 FR 42923 (August Start Printed Page 77386, 1999). On December 2, 2005, the Department received a request from Allegheny Ludlum Corporation and AK Steel Corporation, some of the petitioners in the original investigation (“petitioners”), that the Department initiate a changed circumstances review for purposes of revoking the countervailing duty (“CVD”) order. Also, it is the petitioners' understanding that, upon revocation of the CVD order, the Department will fully refund any countervailing duties deposited pursuant to the order on unliquidated entries. The petitioners state that they are no longer interested in maintaining the countervailing duty order or in the imposition of CVD duties on the subject merchandise.

On January 4, 2006, the Department published a notice of initiation of a changed circumstances review of the countervailing duty order on SSSS from Italy. See Initiation Notice. In the Initiation Notice, we indicated interested parties could submit comments for consideration in the Department's preliminary results not later than 14 days after publication of the initiation of the review, and submit responses to those comments not later than 5 days following the submission of comments. No comments were received.

Scope of the Order

The products covered by this order are certain stainless steel sheet and strip in coils. Stainless steel is an alloy steel containing, by weight, 1.2 percent or less of carbon and 10.5 percent or more of chromium, with or without other elements. The subject sheet and strip is a flat-rolled product in coils that is greater than 9.5 mm in width and less than 4.75 mm in thickness, and that is annealed or otherwise heat treated and pickled or otherwise descaled. The subject sheet and strip may also be further processed (e.g., cold-rolled, polished, aluminized, coated, etc.) provided that it maintains the specific dimensions of sheet and strip following such processing.

The merchandise subject to this order is classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) at the following subheadings: 7219.13.00.30, 7219.13.00.50, 7219.13.00.70, 7219.13.00.80, 7219.14.00.30, 7219.14.00.65, 7219.14.00.90, 7219.32.00.05, 7219.32.00.20, 7219.32.00.25, 7219.32.00.35, 7219.32.00.36, 7219.32.00.38, 7219.32.00.42, 7219.32.00.44, 7219.33.00.05, 7219.33.00.20, 7219.33.00.25, 7219.33.00.35, 7219.33.00.36, 7219.33.00.38, 7219.33.00.42, 7219.33.00.44, 7219.34.00.05, 7219.34.00.20, 7219.34.00.25, 7219.34.00.30, 7219.34.00.35, 7219.35.00.05, 7219.35.00.15, 7219.35.00.30, 7219.35.00.35, 7219.90.00.10, 7219.90.00.20, 7219.90.00.25, 7219.90.00.60, 7219.90.00.80, 7220.12.10.00, 7220.12.50.00, 7220.20.10.10, 7220.20.10.15, 7220.20.10.60, 7220.20.10.80, 7220.20.60.05, 7220.20.60.10, 7220.20.60.15, 7220.20.60.60, 7220.20.60.80, 7220.20.70.05, 7220.20.70.10, 7220.20.70.15, 7220.20.70.60, 7220.20.70.80, 7220.20.80.00, 7220.20.90.30, 7220.20.90.60, 7220.90.00.10, 7220.90.00.15, 7220.90.00.60, and 7220.90.00.80. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the Department's written description of the merchandise covered by this order is dispositive.

Excluded from the scope of this order are the following: (1) sheet and strip that is not annealed or otherwise heat treated and pickled or otherwise descaled; (2) sheet and strip that is cut to length; (3) plate (i.e., flat-rolled stainless steel products of a thickness of 4.75 mm or more); (4) flat wire (i.e., cold-rolled sections, with a prepared edge, rectangular in shape, of a width of not more than 9.5 mm); and (5) razor blade steel. Razor blade steel is a flat-rolled product of stainless steel, not further worked than cold-rolled (cold-reduced), in coils, of a width of not more than 23 mm and a thickness of 0.266 mm or less, containing, by weight, 12.5 to 14.5 percent chromium, and certified at the time of entry to be used in the manufacture of razor blades. See Chapter 72 of the HTSUS, “Additional U.S. Note” 1(d).

In response to comments by interested parties the Department has determined that certain specialty stainless steel products are also excluded from the scope of this order. These excluded products are described below:

Flapper valve steel is defined as stainless steel strip in coils containing, by weight, between 0.37 and 0.43 percent carbon, between 1.15 and 1.35 percent molybdenum, and between 0.20 and 0.80 percent manganese. This steel also contains, by weight, phosphorus of 0.025 percent or less, silicon of between 0.20 and 0.50 percent, and sulfur of 0.020 percent or less. The product is manufactured by means of vacuum arc remelting, with inclusion controls for sulphide of no more than 0.04 percent and for oxide of no more than 0.05 percent. Flapper valve steel has a tensile strength of between 210 and 300 ksi, yield strength of between 170 and 270 ksi, plus or minus 8 ksi, and a hardness (Hv) of between 460 and 590. Flapper valve steel is most commonly used to produce specialty flapper valves in compressors.

Also excluded is a product referred to as suspension foil, a specialty steel product used in the manufacture of suspension assemblies for computer disk drives. Suspension foil is described as 302/304 grade or 202 grade stainless steel of a thickness between 14 and 127 microns, with a thickness tolerance of plus-or-minus 2.01 microns, and surface glossiness of 200 to 700 percent Gs. Suspension foil must be supplied in coil widths of not more than 407 mm and with a mass of 225 kg or less. Roll marks may only be visible on one side, with no scratches of measurable depth. The material must exhibit residual stresses of 2 mm maximum deflection and flatness of 1.6 mm over 685 mm length.

Certain stainless steel foil for automotive catalytic converters is also excluded from the scope of this order. This stainless steel strip in coils is a specialty foil with a thickness of between 20 and 110 microns used to produce a metallic substrate with a honeycomb structure for use in automotive catalytic converters. The steel contains, by weight, carbon of no more than 0.030 percent, silicon of no more than 1.0 percent, manganese of no more than 1.0 percent, chromium of between 19 and 22 percent, aluminum of no less than 5.0 percent, phosphorus of no more than 0.045 percent, sulfur of no more than 0.03 percent, lanthanum of less than 0.002 or greater than 0.05 percent, and total rare earth elements of more than 0.06 percent, with the balance iron.

Permanent magnet iron-chromium-cobalt alloy stainless strip is also excluded from the scope of this order. This ductile stainless steel strip contains, by weight, 26 to 30 percent chromium and 7 to 10 percent cobalt, with the remainder of iron, in widths 228.6 mm or less, and a thickness between 0.127 and 1.270 mm. It exhibits magnetic remanence between 9,000 and 12,000 gauss, and a coercivity of between 50 and 300 oersteds. This product is most commonly used in electronic sensors and is currently available under proprietary trade names such as “Arnokrome III.”1

Certain electrical resistance alloy steel is also excluded from the scope of this order. This product is defined as a non-magnetic stainless steel manufactured to American Society of Testing and Start Printed Page 7739Materials (ASTM) specification B344 and containing, by weight, 36 percent nickel, 18 percent chromium, and 46 percent iron, and is most notable for its resistance to high-temperature corrosion. It has a melting point of 1390 degrees Celsius and displays a creep rupture limit of 4 kilograms per square millimeter at 1000 degrees Celsius. This steel is most commonly used in the production of heating ribbons for circuit breakers and industrial furnaces, and in rheostats for railway locomotives. The product is currently available under proprietary trade names such as “Gilphy 36.”2

Certain martensitic precipitation-hardenable stainless steel is also excluded from the scope of this order. This high-strength, ductile stainless steel product is designated under the Unified Numbering System (UNS) as S45500-grade steel, and contains, by weight, 11 to 13 percent chromium and 7 to 10 percent nickel. Carbon, manganese, silicon and molybdenum each comprise, by weight, 0.05 percent or less, with phosphorus and sulfur each comprising, by weight, 0.03 percent or less. This steel has copper, niobium, and titanium added to achieve aging and will exhibit yield strengths as high as 1700 Mpa and ultimate tensile strengths as high as 1750 Mpa after aging, with elongation percentages of 3 percent or less in 50 mm. It is generally provided in thicknesses between 0.635 and 0.787 mm, and in widths of 25.4 mm. This product is most commonly used in the manufacture of television tubes and is currently available under proprietary trade names such as “Durphynox 17.”3

Finally, three specialty stainless steels typically used in certain industrial blades and surgical and medical instruments are also excluded from the scope of this order. These include stainless steel strip in coils used in the production of textile cutting tools (e.g., carpet knives).[4] This steel is similar to AISI grade 420 but containing, by weight, 0.5 to 0.7 percent of molybdenum. The steel also contains, by weight, carbon of between 1.0 and 1.1 percent, sulfur of 0.020 percent or less, and includes between 0.20 and 0.30 percent copper and between 0.20 and 0.50 percent cobalt. This steel is sold under proprietary names such as “GIN4 Mo.” The second excluded stainless steel strip in coils is similar to AISI 420-J2 and contains, by weight, carbon of between 0.62 and 0.70 percent, silicon of between 0.20 and 0.50 percent, manganese of between 0.45 and 0.80 percent, phosphorus of no more than 0.025 percent, and sulfur of no more than 0.020 percent. This steel has a carbide density on average of 100 carbide particles per 100 square microns. An example of this product is “GIN5” steel. The third specialty steel has a chemical composition similar to AISI 420 F, with carbon of between 0.37 and 0.43 percent, molybdenum of between 1.15 and 1.35 percent, but lower manganese of between 0.20 and 0.80 percent, phosphorus of no more than 0.025 percent, silicon of between 0.20 and 0.50 percent, and sulfur of no more than 0.020 percent. This product is supplied with a hardness of more than Hv 500 guaranteed after customer processing, and is supplied as, for example, “GIN6.”5

Preliminary Results of Review and Intent to Revoke in Whole

Pursuant to section 751(d)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), and 19 CFR 351.222(g), the Department may revoke an antidumping or countervailing duty order, in whole or in part, based on a review under section 751(b) of the Act (i.e., a changed circumstances review). Section 751(b)(1) of the Act requires a changed circumstances review to be conducted upon receipt of a request which shows changed circumstances sufficient to warrant a review. Section 782(h)(2) of the Act gives the Department the authority to revoke an order if producers accounting for substantially all of the production of the domestic like product have expressed a lack of interest in the continuation of the order. Section 351.222(g) of the Department's regulations provides that the Department will conduct a changed circumstances review under 19 CFR 351.216, and may revoke an order (in whole or in part), if it concludes that (i) producers accounting for substantially all of the production of the domestic like product to which the order pertains have expressed a lack of interest in the relief provided by the order, in whole or in part, or (ii) if other changed circumstances sufficient to warrant revocation exist. The Department has interpreted “substantially all” production normally to mean at least 85 percent of domestic production of the like product. See Certain Tin Mill Products From Japan: Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review, 66 FR 52109 (October 12, 2001).

As noted above and in the Initiation Notice, the petitioners requested this changed circumstances review on the basis that they are no longer interested in maintaining the countervailing duty order or in the imposition of CVD duties on the subject merchandise. Because the Department did not receive any comments during the comment period opposing this changed circumstances review, we preliminarily conclude that producers accounting for substantially all of the production of the domestic like product, to which this order pertains, lack interest in the relief provided by the order. In accordance with 19 CFR 351.222(g), the Department preliminarily determines that there is a reasonable basis to believe that changed circumstances exist and that it is sufficient to warrant revocation of the order. Therefore, the Department is preliminarily revoking the order on SSSS from Italy, in whole. Unless the Department receives opposition within the time limit set forth below from domestic producers whose production totals more than 15 percent of the domestic like product, the Department will revoke the order on SSSS in its final results of this review.

If, as a result of this review, we revoke the order, we intend to instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to liquidate without regard to applicable countervailing duties and refund any estimated countervailing duties collected on all unliquidated entries of the merchandise subject to the order, as described above in the “Scope of the Order” section, entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after November 17, 1998, i.e., the publication date of the Department's Preliminary Determination in the underlying investigation. We will also instruct CBP to pay interest on such refunds with respect to the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after August 6, 1999, in accordance with section 778 of the Act. The current requirement for a cash deposit of estimated countervailing duties on the subject merchandise will continue unless, and until, we publish a final determination to revoke in whole.

Public Comment

Interested parties may submit case briefs not later than 14 days after the date of publication of this notice. See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii). Rebuttal briefs, which must be limited to issues raised in such case briefs, may be filed not later than 19 days after the date of publication of this notice. See 19 CFR 351.309(d). Parties who submit arguments are requested to submit with Start Printed Page 7740the argument (1) a statement of the issue, (2) a brief summary of the argument, and (3) a table of authorities. Any interested party may request a hearing within 14 days of publication of this notice. See 19 CFR 351.310(c). Any hearing, if requested, may be held 22 days after the date of publication of this notice, or the first working day thereafter, as practicable.

Consistent with section 351.216(e) of the Department's regulations, we will issue the final results of this changed circumstances review not later than 270 days after the date on which this review was initiated.

This notice is published in accordance with section 751(b)(1) and 771(i)(1) of the Act and sections 351.216 and 351.222 of the Department's regulations.

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Dated: February 8, 2006.

David M. Spooner,

Assistant Secretary for Import Administration.

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Footnotes

1.  “Arnokrome III” is a trademark of the Arnold Engineering Company.

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2.  “Gilphy 36” is a trademark of Imphy, S.A.

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3.  “Durphynox 17” is a trademark of Imphy, S.A.

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4.  This list of uses is illustrative and provided for descriptive purposes only.

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5.  “GIN4 Mo,” “GIN5” and “GIN6” are the proprietary grades of Hitachi Metals America, Ltd.

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[FR Doc. E6-2087 Filed 2-13-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-DS-S