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Notice

Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils from the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review

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AGENCY:

Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Commerce (the Department) is conducting an administrative review of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on stainless steel sheet and strip in coils from the Republic of Korea (Korea) for the period January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005. We preliminarily find that the net subsidy rate for the producer/exporter under review is de minimis. See the “Preliminary Results of Review” section of this notice. Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results. (See the “Public Comment” section of this notice).

EFFECTIVE DATE:

September 10, 2007.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Preeti Tolani or Robert Copyak, AD/CVD Operations, Office 3, Import Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4014, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0395 or (202) 482-2209, respectively.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On August 6, 1999, the Department published in the Federal Register the CVD order on stainless steel sheet and strip in coils from Korea. 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 from France, Italy and the Republic of Korea, 64 FR 42923 (August 6, 1999). On August 1, 2006, the Department published a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of this CVD order. See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 71 FR 43441 (August 1, 2006). On August 8, 2006, we received a timely request for review from Dai Yang Metal Co., Ltd. (DMC). On September 29, 2006, the Department published a notice of initiation of the administrative review of the CVD order on stainless steel sheet and strip in coils from Korea covering the period of review (POR) January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005. See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 71 FR 57465 (September 29, 2006). On September 27, 2006, the Department sent questionnaires to DMC and the Government of Korea (GOK). On November 30, 2006, the Department received questionnaire responses from DMC and the GOK. On February 12, 2007, DMC and the GOK submitted responses to the Department's January 29, 2007, supplemental questionnaires.

On May 9, 2007, the Department published in the Federal Register an extension of the preliminary results deadline. See Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip from the Republic of Korea: Extension of Time Limit for Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review, 72 FR 26338.

In accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(b), this review covers only those producers or exporters for which a review was specifically requested. The only company subject to this review is DMC.

Scope of Order

The products subject to 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), provided that it maintains the specific dimensions of sheet and strip following such processing.

The merchandise subject to this order is currently classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) at 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 Start Printed Page 51616provided for convenience and customs purposes, the Department's written description of the merchandise 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).

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 between 0.002 and 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 Materials (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 ASTM grade 440F, 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 HI-C.” 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 square micron. 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 mor 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.”

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Subsidies Valuation Information

Benchmark for Long-Term Loans issued through 2005: During the POR, DMC had both won-denominated and foreign currency-denominated long-term loans outstanding which it received from government-owned banks and Korean commercial banks. Based on our findings on this issue in prior investigations and reviews, we are using the following benchmarks to calculate the subsidies attributable to respondent's long-term loans obtained in the years 1991 through 2005:

(1) For countervailable foreign currency-denominated loans, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.505(a)(2)(i), and consistent with our practice to date, our preference is to use the company-specific weighted-average foreign currency-denominated interest rates on the company's loans from foreign bank branches in Korea, foreign securities, and direct foreign loans received after April 1992. See Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination: Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils from the Republic of Korea, 64 FR 30636, 30642 (June 8, 1999). See also Final Negative Countervailing Duty Determination: Stainless Steel Plate in Coils from the Republic of Korea, 64 FR 15530, 15533 (March 31, 1999) (Plate in Coils). For variable-rate loans outstanding during the POR, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.505(a)(2)(i), our preference is to use, as the benchmark, an interest rate of a variable-rate lending instrument issued during the POR; and for long-term fixed-rate loans, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.505(a)(2)(iii), our preference is to use a benchmark rate issued in the same year that the loan was issued. However, no such benchmark instruments were available, and consistent with our methodology in the prior administrative review, we relied on the lending rates as reported by the IMF's International Financial Statistics Yearbook. See Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils from the Republic of Korea, 72 FR 120 (January 3, 2007).

(2) For countervailable won-denominated long-term loans, our practice is to use the company-specific corporate bond rate on the company's public and private bonds, as we determined that the GOK did not control the Korean domestic bond market after 1991, and that domestic bonds may serve as an appropriate benchmark interest rate. See Plate in Coils, 64 FR at 15531. Where unavailable, we use the national average of the yields on three-year corporate bonds, as reported by the Bank of Korea (BOK). We note that the use of the three-year corporate bond rate from the BOK follows the approach taken in Plate in Coils, in which we determined that, absent company-specific interest rate information, the corporate bond rate is the best indicator of a market rate for won-denominated long-term loans in Korea. Id.

I. Program Preliminarily Determined to Confer Subsidies

The GOK's Direction of Credit

1. Loans Received through 2005

In the most recently completed CVD proceeding involving Korea, the Department reaffirmed earlier determinations that the GOK controlled and directed lending to Korean steel producers through year 2005. See Notice of Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate from Korea, 72 FR 38565 (July 13, 2007) (2005 CTL Plate Final Results). In addition, in that review, the Department noted that neither the respondent nor the GOK provided any new information that would warrant a change in the Department's determination. Finding that the GOK did not act to the best of its ability, the Department employed an adverse inference and determined that the GOK continued its direction-of-credit policies with respect to the Korean steel industry for the period 2002 through 2005. Id.

During the POR, DMC had outstanding loans that were received prior to and/or during the 2005 period. As in the prior proceedings, we asked the GOK for information pertaining to the GOK's direction-of-credit policies through 2005. The GOK did not provide any new or additional information that would warrant a departure from these prior findings, stating instead that:

the Government of Korea continues to believe that the evidence demonstrates that there has been no direction of credit to the Korean steel industry. Nevertheless, the Department has consistently found that long-term loans received by Korean steel producers were the result of the Korean Government's direction, despite the Government's repeated submission of evidence to the contrary. . . . Consequently, in this review, the Government will not contest the Department's findings on direction of long-term loans.

Because the GOK withheld the requested information on its lending policies, the Department does not have the necessary information on the record to determine whether the GOK has continued its direction-of-credit policies with respect to the Korean steel industry through 2005; therefore, the Department must base its determination on facts otherwise available. See section 776(a)(2)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).

Section 776(b) of the Act further provides that the Department may use an adverse inference in applying the facts otherwise available when a party has failed to cooperate by not acting to the best of its ability to comply with a request for information. Section 776(b) of the Act also authorizes the Department to use as adverse facts available (AFA) information derived from the petition, the final determination, a previous administrative review, or other information placed on the record. For the reasons discussed below, we determine that, in accordance with sections 776(a)(2) and 776(b) of the Act, the use of AFA is appropriate for the preliminary results for the determination of direction of credit for loans received through 2005.

In this case, the GOK refused to supply requested information that was in its possession, even though the GOK had provided similar information in prior proceedings. See, e.g., Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination: Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate from the Republic of Korea, 64 FR 73176, 73178 (December 29, 1999). Therefore, consistent with sections 776(a)(2)(A) and 776(b) of the Act, we find that the GOK did not act to the best of its ability and, therefore, we are employing an adverse inference in selecting from among the facts otherwise available. As AFA, we find that the GOK's direction-of-credit policies for the steel industry continued through 2005. As noted above, the GOK's direction-of-credit policies with respect to the Korean steel industry provide a financial contribution, confer a benefit, and are specific, pursuant to sections 771(5)(D)(i), 771(5)(E)(ii), and 771(5A)(D)(iii) of the Act, respectively. Therefore, we find that lending to Korean steel producers from domestic banks and government-owned banks through 2005 is countervailable. Thus, any loans received by Korean steel producers through 2005 from domestic banks and government-owned banks that were outstanding during the POR are countervailable, to the extent that the interest amount paid on the loan is less than what would have been paid on a comparable commercial loan. The Department's decision to rely on adverse inferences when lacking a response from the GOK regarding the Start Printed Page 51618direction of credit issue, as it applies to the Korean steel industry, is in accordance with its practice. See 2005 CTL Plate Final Results.

2. Calculation of the Benefit and Net Subsidy Rate Under the Direction of Credit Program

In accordance with 19 CFR 351.505(c)(2) and (4), we calculated the benefit for each fixed- and variable-rate loan received from GOK-owned or -controlled banks to be the difference between the actual amount of interest paid on the directed loan during the POR and the amount of interest that would have been paid during the POR at the benchmark interest rate. We conducted our benefit calculations using the benchmark interest rates described in the “Subsidies Valuation Information” section above. For foreign currency-denominated loans, we converted the benefits into Korean won using exchange rates obtained from the BOK or, where BOK rates were not available, from other publicly available sources. We then summed the benefits from each company's long-term fixed-rate and variable-rate won-denominated loans.

To calculate the net subsidy rate, we divided DMC's total benefit by its total f.o.b. sales values during the POR, as this program is not tied to exports or a particular product. On this basis, we preliminarily determine the net subsidy rate to be 0.03 percent ad valorem for DMC.

II. Programs Preliminarily Determined To Be Not Used

A. Investment Tax Credits under RSTA Articles 11, 24, 25 and TERCL Articles 24 and 71

B. Reserve for Export Loss under Article 16 of TERCL

C. Reserve for Overseas Market Development under Article 17 of TERCL

D. Asset Revaluation under Article 56(2) of TERCL

E. Equipment Investment to Promote Worker's Welfare under Article 88 of TERCL

F. Special Cases of Tax for Balanced Development Among Areas under Articles 41-45 of TERCL

G. Requested Loan Adjustment Program

H. Emergency Load Reduction Program

I. Export Industry Facility Loan

J. Special Facility Loans

K. Energy Saving Facility Program

L. Research and Development Grants

M. Local Tax Exemption on Land Outside of Metropolitan Area

N. Short-Term Export Financing

O. Exemption of VAT on Imports of Anthracite Coal

P. Excessive Duty Drawback

Q. Special Depreciation of Assets on Foreign Exchange Earnings

R. Export Insurance Rates Provided by the Korean Export Insurance Corporation

S. Loans from the National Agricultural Cooperation Federation

T. Tax Incentives for Highly Advanced Technology Businesses under the Foreign Investment and Foreign Capital Inducement Act

III. Programs Preliminarily Determined To Be Not Countervailable

A. Tax Credit for Improving Enterprise's Bill System under Article 7-2 of RSTA

B. Tax Credit for Equipment to Promote Worker's Welfare under Article 94 of RSTA

C. Tax Deduction for Boosting Employment under Article 30-4 of RSTA

Preliminary Results of Review

In accordance with 19 CFR 351.221(b)(4)(i), we calculated an individual subsidy rate for the producer/exporter subject to this administrative review. For the period January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005, we preliminarily determine the net subsidy for DMC to be 0.03 percent ad valorem, which is de minimis. See 19 CFR 351.106(c)(1).

The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) 15 days after the date of publication of the final results of this review. If the final results remain the same as these preliminary results, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate without regard to countervailing duties all shipments of subject merchandise produced by DMC, entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005. The Department will also instruct CBP not to collect cash deposits of estimated countervailing duties on shipments of the subject merchandise produced by DMC and Dongbu, entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of the final results of this review.

If the final results of this review remain the same as these preliminary results, the Department intends to instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 15 days after the date of publication of the final results, to liquidate shipments of certain stainless steel sheet and strip in coils from DMC, entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005, without regard to countervailing duties. Also, the Department intends to instruct CBP not to collect deposits of estimated countervailing duties on shipments of certain stainless steel sheet and strip in coils from DMC, entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication of the final results of this administrative review. The Department will issue appropriate instructions directly to CBP within 15 days of the final results of this review.

We will instruct CBP to continue to collect cash deposits for non-reviewed companies at the most recent company-specific or country-wide rate applicable to the company. Accordingly, the cash deposit rates that will be applied to companies covered by this order, but not examined in this review, are those established in the most recently completed administrative proceeding for each company. These rates shall apply to all non-reviewed companies until a review of a company assigned these rates is requested.

Public Comment

Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.224(b), the Department will disclose to parties to the proceeding any calculations performed in connection with these preliminary results within five days after the date of the public announcement of this notice. Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309, interested parties may submit written comments in response to these preliminary results. Unless otherwise indicated by the Department, case briefs must be submitted within 30 days after the publication of these preliminary results. Rebuttal briefs, which are limited to arguments raised in case briefs, must be submitted no later than five days after the time limit for filing case briefs, unless otherwise specified by the Department. Parties who submit arguments in this proceeding are requested to submit with the argument: (1) a statement of the issue, and (2) a brief summary of the argument. Parties submitting case and/or rebuttal briefs are requested to provide the Department copies of the public version on disk. Case and rebuttal briefs must be served on interested parties in accordance with 19 CFR 351.303(f). Also, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310, within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice, interested parties may request a public hearing on Start Printed Page 51619arguments to be raised in the case and rebuttal briefs. Unless the Secretary specifies otherwise, the hearing, if requested, will be held two days after the date for submission of rebuttal briefs.

Representatives of parties to the proceeding may request disclosure of proprietary information under administrative protective order no later than 10 days after the representative's client or employer becomes a party to the proceeding, but in no event later than the date the case briefs, under 19 CFR 351.309(c)(ii), are due. The Department will publish the final results of this administrative review, including the results of its analysis of issues raised in any case or rebuttal brief or at a hearing.

These preliminary results of review are issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(4).

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Dated: August 31, 2007.

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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[FR Doc. E7-17748 Filed 9-7-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-DS-S