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Notice

Countervailing Duty Investigation of Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Affirmative Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping Duty Determination

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AGENCY:

Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Commerce (the Department) preliminarily determines that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of stainless steel sheet and strip (stainless sheet and strip) from the People's Republic of China (PRC). The period of investigation is January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015. We invite interested parties to comment on this preliminary determination.

DATES:

Effective July 18, 2016.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Emily Halle, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-0176.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Scope of the Investigation

The products covered by this investigation are stainless sheet and strip from the PRC. For a complete description of the scope of this investigation, see Appendix II.

Methodology

The Department is conducting this countervailing duty (CVD) investigation in accordance with section 701 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). For each of the subsidy programs found countervailable, we preliminarily determine that there is a subsidy, i.e., a financial contribution by an “authority” that gives rise to a benefit to the recipient, and that the subsidy is specific.[1] For a full description of the methodology underlying our preliminary conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.[2] A list of topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is included as Appendix I to this notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/​frn/​. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic version are identical in content.

The Department notes that, in making these findings, we relied, in part, on facts available and, because we find that one or more respondents did not act to the best of their ability to respond to the Department's requests for information, we drew an adverse inference where appropriate in selecting from among the facts otherwise available.[3] For further information, see “Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences” in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

Alignment

As noted in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, in accordance with section 705(a)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(4), we are aligning the final CVD determination in this investigation with the final determination in the companion antidumping duty (AD) investigation of stainless sheet and strip from the PRC based on a request made by Petitioners.[4] Consequently, the final CVD determination will be issued on the same date as the final AD determination, which is currently scheduled to be issued no later than November 23, 2016, unless postponed.

Preliminary Determination and Suspension of Liquidation

In accordance with section 703(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, we calculated an individual estimated countervailable subsidy rate for Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co. Ltd. (Taigang), the only cooperating, individually-investigated exporter/producer. Additionally, in accordance with sections 703(d) and 705(c)(5)(A) of the Act, for companies not individually investigated, we apply an “all-others” rate, which is normally calculated by weight averaging the subsidy rates of the companies selected for individual investigation by those companies' exports of the subject merchandise to the United States. However, under section 705(c)(5)(A)(i) of the Act, the all-others rate excludes zero and de minimis rates calculated for the exporters and producers individually investigated, as well as rates based entirely on facts otherwise available. Therefore, we have excluded the rates based entirely on facts otherwise available assigned to Ningbo Baoxin Stainless Steel Co., Ltd. (Ningbo Baoxin) and Daming International Import Export Co. Ltd. (Daming) from the all-others rate. Because the only individually calculated rate that is not zero, de minimis, or based on facts otherwise available is the rate calculated for Taigang, in accordance with section 705(c)(5)(A)(i) of the Act, the rate calculated for Taigang is preliminarily assigned as the all-others rate. The preliminary estimated countervailable subsidy rates are summarized in the table below.Start Printed Page 46644

CompanySubsidy rate (percent)
Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co. Ltd57.30
Ningbo Baoxin Stainless Steel Co., Ltd., Baosteel Stainless Steel Co. Ltd., Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd., Baosteel Desheng Stainless Steel Co., Ltd., Baosteel Co., Ltd., Bayi Iron & Steel Co., Ltd., Ningbo Iron & Steel Co., Ltd., Shaoguan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd., Guangdong Shaoguan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd., and Zhanjiang Iron & Steel Co., Ltd193.12
Daming International Import Export Co. Ltd. and Tianjin Taigang Daming Metal Product Co., Ltd193.12
All-Others57.30

In accordance with section 703(d)(2) of the Act, we will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend liquidation of all entries of stainless sheet and strip from the PRC as described in the “Scope of the Investigation. Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.205(d), the Department will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the rests indicated above. Section 703(e)(2) of the Act provides that, given an affirmative determination of critical circumstances, any suspension of liquidation shall apply to unliquidated entries of merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the later of (a) the date which is 90 days before the date on which the suspension of liquidation was first ordered, or (b) the date on which notice of initiation of the investigation was published. On June 27, 2016, we preliminarily found that critical circumstances exist for imports produced or exported by Taigang, Ningbo Baoxin, Daming, and all-other exporters or producers.[5] Accordingly, for these companies, in accordance with section 703(e)(2)(A) of the Act, suspension of liquidation of stainless sheet and strip from the PRC, as described in the “Scope of the Investigation,” shall apply to unliquidated entries of merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date which is 90 days before the publication of this notice, the date suspension of liquidation is first ordered.

Verification

As provided in section 782(i)(1) of the Act, we intend to verify the information submitted by the respondents prior to making our final determination.

International Trade Commission Notification

In accordance with section 703(f) of the Act, we will notify the International Trade Commission (ITC) of our determination. In addition, we are making available to the ITC all non-privileged and non-proprietary information relating to this investigation. We will allow the ITC access to all privileged and business proprietary information in our files, provided the ITC confirms that it will not disclose such information, either publicly or under an administrative protective order, without the written consent of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

In accordance with section 705(b)(2) of the Act, if our final determination is affirmative, the ITC will make its final determination within 45 days after the Department makes its final determination.

Disclosure and Public Comment

The Department intends to disclose to interested parties the calculations performed in connection with this preliminary determination within five days of its public announcement.[6] Interested parties may submit case and rebuttal briefs, as well as request a hearing.[7] For a schedule of the deadlines for filing case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

This determination is issued and published pursuant to sections 703(f) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

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Dated: July 11, 2016.

Ronald K. Lorentzen,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

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Appendix I

List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum

I. Summary

II. Background

III. Scope Comments

IV. Scope of the Investigation

V. Preliminary Determination of Critical Circumstances

VI. Injury Test

VII. Application of the CVD Law to Imports From the PRC

VIII. Alignment

IX. Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences

X. Subsidies Valuation

XI. Benchmarks and Interest Rates

XII. Analysis of Programs

XIII. Disclosure and Public Comment

XIV. Conclusion

Appendix II

Scope of the Investigation

The merchandise covered by this investigation is stainless steel sheet and strip, whether in coils or straight lengths. 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 with a width that is greater than 9.5 mm and with a thickness of 0.3048 mm and greater but less than 4.75 mm, 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, annealed, tempered, polished, aluminized, coated, painted, varnished, trimmed, cut, punched, or slit, etc.) provided that it maintains the specific dimensions of sheet and strip set forth above following such processing. The products described include products regardless of shape, and include products of either rectangular or non-rectangular cross-section where such cross-section is achieved subsequent to the rolling process, i.e., products which have been “worked after rolling” (e.g., products which have been beveled or rounded at the edges).

For purposes of the width and thickness requirements referenced above: (1) Where the nominal and actual measurements vary, a product is within the scope if application of either the nominal or actual measurement would place it within the scope based on the definitions set forth above; and (2) where the width and thickness vary for a specific product (e.g., the thickness of certain products with non-rectangular cross-section, the width of certain products with non-rectangular shape, etc.), the measurement at its greatest width or thickness applies.

All products that meet the written physical description, and in which the chemistry quantities do not exceed any one of the noted element levels listed above, are within the scope of this investigation unless specifically excluded.

Subject merchandise includes stainless steel sheet and strip that has been further processed in a third country, including but not limited to cold-rolling, annealing, tempering, polishing, aluminizing, coating, painting, varnishing, trimming, cutting, punching, and/or slitting, or any other processing that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the stainless steel sheet and strip.Start Printed Page 46645

Excluded from the scope of this investigation are the following: (1) Sheet and strip that is not annealed or otherwise heat treated and not pickled or otherwise descaled; (2) plate (i.e., flat-rolled stainless steel products of a thickness of 4.75 mm or more); and (3) flat wire (i.e., cold-rolled sections, with a mill edge, rectangular in shape, of a width of not more than 9.5 mm).

The products under investigation are currently classifiable under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings 7219.13.0031, 7219.13.0051, 7219.13.0071, 7219.13.0081, 7219.14.0030, 7219.14.0065, 7219.14.0090, 7219.23.0030, 7219.23.0060, 7219.24.0030, 7219.24.0060, 7219.32.0005, 7219.32.0020, 7219.32.0025, 7219.32.0035, 7219.32.0036, 7219.32.0038, 7219.32.0042, 7219.32.0044, 7219.32.0045, 7219.32.0060, 7219.33.0005, 7219.33.0020, 7219.33.0025, 7219.33.0035, 7219.33.0036, 7219.33.0038, 7219.33.0042, 7219.33.0044, 7219.33.0045, 7219.33.0070, 7219.33.0080, 7219.34.0005, 7219.34.0020, 7219.34.0025, 7219.34.0030, 7219.34.0035, 7219.34.0050, 7219.35.0005, 7219.35.0015, 7219.35.0030, 7219.35.0035, 7219.35.0050, 7219.90.0010, 7219.90.0020, 7219.90.0025, 7219.90.0060, 7219.90.0080, 7220.12.1000, 7220.12.5000, 7220.20.1010, 7220.20.1015, 7220.20.1060, 7220.20.1080, 7220.20.6005, 7220.20.6010, 7220.20.6015, 7220.20.6060, 7220.20.6080, 7220.20.7005, 7220.20.7010, 7220.20.7015, 7220.20.7060, 7220.20.7080, 7220.90.0010, 7220.90.0015, 7220.90.0060, and 7220.90.0080. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this proceeding is dispositive.

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Footnotes

1.  See sections 771(5)(B) and (D) of the Act regarding financial contribution; section 771(5)(E) of the Act regarding benefit; and section 771(5A) of the Act regarding specificity.

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2.  See Memorandum, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Affirmative Determination: Countervailing Duty Investigation of Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip From the People's Republic of China,” dated concurrently with, and hereby adopted by, this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

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3.  See sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act.

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4.  See Letter from Petitioners, “Countervailing Duty Investigation of Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip from the People's Republic of China—Petitioners' Request to Align the Countervailing Duty Final Determination with the Companion Antidumping Duty Final Determination,” June 24, 2016.

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5.  See Countervailing Duty Investigation of Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Determination of Critical Circumstances, 81 FR 41519 (June 27, 2016).

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[FR Doc. 2016-16947 Filed 7-15-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P