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Notice

Finished Carbon Steel Flanges From India: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation

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AGENCY:

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

DATES:

Effective Date: July 20, 2016.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Yasmin Bordas at (202) 482-3813, or Davina Friedmann at (202) 482-0698, AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Petition

On September 30, 2015, the Department of Commerce (Department) received a countervailing duty (CVD) petition concerning imports of finished carbon steel flanges (steel flanges) from India, filed in proper form on behalf of Weldbend Corporation & Boltex Mfg. Co., L.P. (collectively, Petitioners). The CVD petition was accompanied by antidumping duty (AD) petitions concerning imports of steel flanges from India, Italy, and Spain.[1] Petitioners are domestic producers of steel flanges.[2]

On July 6, 2016, the Department requested information and clarification for certain areas of the Petition.[3] Petitioners filed responses to these requests on July 8, 2016, and July 11, 2016.[4]

In accordance with section 702(b)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), Petitioners allege that the Government of India (GOI) is providing countervailable subsidies (within the meaning of sections 701 and 771(5) of the Act) to imports of steel flanges from India, and that such imports are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, an industry in the United States. Also, consistent with section 702(b)(1) of the Act, for those alleged programs in India on which we have initiated a CVD investigation, the Petition is accompanied by information reasonably available to Petitioners supporting their allegations.

The Department finds that Petitioners filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because Petitioners are interested parties as defined in section 771(9)(C) of the Act. The Department also finds that Petitioners demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the initiation of the CVD investigation that Petitioners are requesting.[5]

Period of Investigation

The period of investigation is January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015.[6]

Scope of the Investigation

The product covered by this investigation is steel flanges from India. For a full description of the scope of this investigation, see the “Scope of the Investigation” in Appendix I of this notice.

Comments on Scope of the Investigation

During our review of the Petitions, the Department issued questions to, and received responses from, Petitioners pertaining to the proposed scope to ensure that the scope language in the Petitions would be an accurate reflection of the products for which the domestic industry is seeking relief.[7]

As discussed in the preamble to the Department's regulations, we are setting aside a period for interested parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (scope). The Department will consider all comments received from parties and, if necessary, will consult with parties prior to the issuance of the preliminary determinations. If scope comments include factual information (see 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21)), all such factual information should be limited to public information. In order to facilitate preparation of its questionnaires, the Department requests all interested parties to submit such comments by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on August 9, 2016, which is 20 calendar days from the signature date of this notice. Any rebuttal comments, which may include factual information, must be filed by 5:00 p.m. EDT on August 19, 2016, which is 10 calendar days after the initial comments.

The Department requests that any factual information the parties consider relevant to the scope of the investigations be submitted during this time period. However, if a party subsequently finds that additional factual information pertaining to the scope of the investigations may be relevant, the party may contact the Department and request permission to submit the additional information. All such comments must be filed on the records of each of the concurrent AD and CVD investigations.

Filing Requirements

All submissions to the Department must be filed electronically using Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS).[8] An electronically-filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by the time and date it is due. Documents excepted from the electronic submission requirements must be filed manually (i.e., in paper form) with Enforcement and Compliance's APO/Dockets Unit, Room 18022, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, and stamped with the date and time of receipt by the applicable deadlines.

Consultations

Pursuant to section 702(b)(4)(A)(i) of the Act, the Department notified representatives of the GOI of the receipt of the Petition. Also, in accordance with section 702(b)(4)(A)(ii) of the Act, the Department provided representatives of the GOI the opportunity for consultations with respect to the CVD petition. On July 19, 2016, consultations were held with the GOI. All invitation letters and memoranda regarding these consultations are on file electronically via ACCESS.

Determination of Industry Support for the Petition

Section 702(b)(1) of the Act requires that a petition be filed on behalf of the domestic industry. Section 702(c)(4)(A) Start Printed Page 49626of the Act provides that a petition meets this requirement if the domestic producers or workers who support the petition account for: (i) At least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product; and (ii) 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 provides 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 to poll the “industry.”

Section 771(4)(A) of the Act defines the “industry” as the producers as a whole 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,[9] 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 law.[10]

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 domestic like product, Petitioners do not offer a definition of the domestic like product distinct from the scope of the investigation. Based on our analysis of the information submitted on the record, we have determined that steel flanges constitute a single domestic like product and we have analyzed industry support in terms of that domestic like product.[11]

In determining whether Petitioners have standing under section 702(c)(4)(A) of the Act, we considered the industry support data contained in the Petition with reference to the domestic like product as defined in the “Scope of the Investigation,” in Appendix I of this notice. Petitioners provided their production of the domestic like product in 2015,[12] as well as an estimate of the total 2015 production of the domestic like product for the entire domestic industry.[13] To establish industry support, Petitioners compared their own production to the estimated total production of the domestic like product for the entire domestic industry.[14]

Our review of the data provided in the Petition and other information readily available to the Department indicates that Petitioners have established industry support.[15] First, the Petition established support from domestic producers (or workers) accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product and, as such, the Department is not required to take further action in order to evaluate industry support (e.g., polling).[16] Second, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 702(c)(4)(A)(i) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for at least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product.[17] Finally, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 702(c)(4)(A)(ii) of the Act because 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.[18] 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.

The Department finds that Petitioners filed the 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 CVD investigation that they are requesting the Department initiate.[19]

Injury Test

Because India is a “Subsidies Agreement Country” within the meaning of section 701(b) of the Act, section 701(a)(2) of the Act applies to this investigation. 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

Petitioners allege that imports of the subject merchandise are benefitting from countervailable subsidies and that such imports are causing, or threaten to cause, material injury to the U.S. industry producing the domestic like product. In addition, Petitioners allege that subject imports exceed the negligibility threshold provided for under section 771(24)(A) of the Act.[20]

In CVD petitions, section 771(24)(B) of the Act provides that imports of subject merchandise from developing and least developed countries must exceed the negligibility threshold of four percent. The import data provided by Petitioners demonstrate that subject imports from India, which has been designated as a least developed country,[21] exceed the negligibility threshold provided for under section 771(24)(B) of the Act.[22]

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Petitioners contend that the industry's injured condition is illustrated by reduced market share, underselling and price suppression or depression, lost sales and revenues, declines in production, capacity utilization, and U.S. shipments, negative impact on employment variables, and decline in financial performance.[23] We have assessed the allegations and supporting evidence regarding material injury, threat of material injury, and causation, and we have determined that these allegations are properly supported by adequate evidence and meet the statutory requirements for initiation.[24]

Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation

Section 702(b)(1) of the Act requires the Department to initiate a CVD investigation whenever an interested party files a CVD petition on behalf of an industry that: (1) Alleges the elements necessary for an imposition of a duty under section 701(a) of the Act; and (2) is accompanied by information reasonably available to Petitioners supporting the allegations.

Petitioners allege that producers/exporters of steel flanges in India benefit from countervailable subsidies bestowed by the GOI. The Department examined the Petition and finds that it complies with the requirements of section 702(b)(1) of the Act. Therefore, in accordance with section 702(b)(1) of the Act, we are initiating a CVD investigation to determine whether manufacturers, producers, or exporters of steel flanges from India receive countervailable subsidies from the GOI.

On June 29, 2015, the President of the United States signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, which made numerous amendments to the AD and CVD law.[25] The 2015 law does not specify dates of application for those amendments. On August 6, 2015, the Department published an interpretative rule, in which it announced the applicability dates for each amendment to the Act, except for amendments contained in section 771(7) of the Act, which relate to determinations of material injury by the ITC.[26] The amendments to sections 776 and 782 of the Act are applicable to all determinations made on or after August 6, 2015, and, therefore, apply to this CVD investigation.[27]

Based on our review of the petition, we find that there is sufficient information to initiate a CVD investigation on 15 of the 99 alleged programs in India. For a full discussion of the basis for our decision to initiate or not initiate on each program, see the India CVD Initiation Checklist. A public version of the initiation checklist for this investigation is available on ACCESS.

In accordance with section 703(b)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(b)(1), unless postponed, we will make our preliminary determination no later than 65 days after the date of this initiation.

Respondent Selection

Petitioners named 34 companies as producers/exporters of steel flanges in India.[28] Following standard practice in CVD investigations, the Department will, where appropriate, select respondents based on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data for U.S. imports of steel flanges during the period of investigation. We intend to release CBP data under Administrative Protective Order (APO) to all parties with access to information protected by APO within five business days of publication of this Federal Register notice. The Department invites comments regarding respondent selection within seven business days of publication of this Federal Register notice.

Comments must be filed electronically using ACCESS. An electronically-filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by ACCESS, by 5 p.m. EDT by the date noted above. We intend to make our decision regarding respondent selection within 20 days of publication of this notice. Interested parties must submit applications for disclosure under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(b). Instructions for filing such applications may be found on the Department's Web site at http://enforcement.trade.gov/​apo.

Distribution of Copies of the Petition

In accordance with section 702(b)(4)(A)(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.202(f), a copy of the public version of the Petition has been provided to the GOI via ACCESS. To the extent practicable, we will attempt to provide a copy of the public version of the Petition to each known exporter (as named in the Petition), consistent with 19 CFR 351.203(c)(2).

ITC Notification

We will notify the ITC of our initiation, as required by section 702(d) of the Act.

Preliminary Determinations by the ITC

The ITC will preliminarily determine, within 45 days after the date on which the Petition was filed, whether there is a reasonable indication that imports of steel flanges from India are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, a U.S. industry.[29] A negative ITC determination will result in the investigation being terminated; [30] otherwise, this investigation will proceed according to statutory and regulatory time limits.

Submission of Factual Information

Factual information is defined in 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) as: (i) Evidence submitted in response to questionnaires; (ii) evidence submitted in support of allegations; (iii) publicly available information to value factors under 19 CFR 351.408(c) or to measure the adequacy of remuneration under 19 CFR 351.511(a)(2); (iv) evidence placed on the record by the Department; and (v) evidence other than factual information described in (i)-(iv). The regulation requires any party, when submitting factual information, to specify under which subsection of 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) the information is being submitted and, if the information is submitted to rebut, clarify, or correct factual information already on the record, to provide an explanation identifying the information already on the record that the factual information seeks to rebut, clarify, or correct. Time limits for the submission of factual information are addressed in 19 CFR 351.301, which provides specific time limits based on the type of factual information being submitted. Parties should review the regulations prior to submitting factual information in this investigation.Start Printed Page 49628

Extension of Time Limits Regulation

Parties may request an extension of time limits before the expiration of a time limit established under 19 CFR 351.301, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary. In general, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after the expiration of the time limit established under 19 CFR 351.301 expires. For submissions that are due from multiple parties simultaneously, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after 10:00 a.m. on the due date. Under certain circumstances, we may elect to specify a different time limit by which extension requests will be considered untimely for submissions which are due from multiple parties simultaneously. In such a case, we will inform parties in the letter or memorandum setting forth the deadline (including a specified time) by which extension requests must be filed to be considered timely. An extension request must be made in a separate, stand-alone submission; under limited circumstances we will grant untimely-filed requests for the extension of time limits. Review Extension of Time Limits; Final Rule, 78 FR 57790 (September 20, 2013), available at http://www.gpo.gov/​fdsys/​pkg/​FR-2013-09-20/​html/​2013-22853.htm, prior to submitting factual information in this investigation.

Certification Requirements

Any party submitting factual information in an AD or CVD proceeding must certify to the accuracy and completeness of that information.[31] Parties are hereby reminded that revised certification requirements are in effect for company/government officials, as well as their representatives. Investigations initiated on the basis of petitions filed on or after August 16, 2013, and other segments of any AD or CVD proceedings initiated on or after August 16, 2013, should use the formats for the revised certifications provided at the end of the Final Rule.[32] The Department intends to reject factual submissions if the submitting party does not comply with the applicable revised certification requirements.

Notification to Interested Parties

Interested parties must submit applications for disclosure under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305. On January 22, 2008, the Department published Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Documents Submission Procedures; APO Procedures, 73 FR 3634 (January 22, 2008). Parties wishing to participate in this investigation should ensure that they meet the requirements of these procedures (e.g., the filing of letters of appearance as discussed at 19 CFR 351.103(d)).

This notice is issued and published pursuant to sections 702 and 777(i) of the Act.

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Dated: July 20, 2016.

Paul Piquado,

Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

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Appendix I—Scope of the Investigation

The scope of this investigation covers finished carbon steel flanges. Finished carbon steel flanges differ from unfinished carbon steel flanges (also known as carbon steel flange forgings) in that they have undergone further processing after forging, including, but not limited to, beveling, bore threading, center or step boring, face machining, taper boring, machining ends or surfaces, drilling bolt holes, and/or de-burring or shot blasting. Any one of these post-forging processes suffices to render the forging into a finished carbon steel flange for purposes of this investigation. However, mere heat treatment of a carbon steel flange forging (without any other further processing after forging) does not render the forging into a finished carbon steel flange for purposes of this investigation.

While these finished carbon steel flanges are generally manufactured to specification ASME 816.5 or ASME 816.47 series A or series 8, the scope is not limited to flanges produced under those specifications. All types of finished carbon steel flanges are included in the scope regardless of pipe size (which may or may not be expressed in inches of nominal pipe size), pressure class (usually, but not necessarily, expressed in pounds of pressure, e.g., 150, 300, 400, 600, 900, 1500, 2500, etc.), type of face (e.g., flat face, full face, raised face, etc.), configuration (e.g., weld neck, slip on, socket weld, lap joint, threaded, etc.), wall thickness (usually, but not necessarily, expressed in inches), normalization, or whether or not heat treated. These carbon steel flanges either meet or exceed the requirements of the ASTM A105, ASTM A694, ASTM A181, ASTM A350 and ASTM A707 standards (or comparable foreign specifications). The scope includes any flanges produced to the above-referenced ASTM standards as currently stated or as may be amended. The term “carbon steel” under this scope is steel in which:

(a) Iron predominates, by weight, over each of the other contained elements:

(b) The carbon content is 2 percent or less, by weight; and

(c) none of the elements listed below exceeds the quantity, by weight, as indicated:

(i) 0.87 percent of aluminum;

(ii) 0.0105 percent of boron;

(iii) 10.10 percent of chromium;

(iv) 1.55 percent of columbium;

(v) 3.10 percent of copper;

(vi) 0.38 percent of lead;

(vii) 3.04 percent of manganese;

(viii) 2.05 percent of molybdenum;

(ix) 20.15 percent of nickel;

(x) 1.55 percent of niobium;

(xi) 0.20 percent of nitrogen;

(xii) 0.21 percent of phosphorus;

(xiii) 3.10 percent of silicon;

(xiv) 0.21 percent of sulfur;

(xv) 1.05 percent of titanium;

(xvi) 4.06 percent of tungsten;

(xvii) 0.53 percent of vanadium; or

(xviii) 0.015 percent of zirconium.

Finished carbon steel flanges are currently classified under subheadings 7307.91.5010 and 7307.91.5050 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). They may also be entered under HTSUS subheadings 7307.91.5030 and 7307.91.5070. The HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes; the written description of the scope is dispositive.

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Footnotes

1.  See “Petition for the Imposition of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties: Finished Carbon Steel Flanges from India,” dated June 30, 2016 (Petition).

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2.  See Volume I of the Petition, at 2.

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3.  See letter from the Department, “Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping Duties on Imports of Finished Carbon Steel Flanges from India, Italy, and Spain and Countervailing Duties on Imports from India: Supplemental Questions,” dated July 6, 2016 (General Issues Questionnaire); letter from the Department, “Petition for the Imposition of Countervailing Duties on Imports of Carbon Steel Flanges from India: Supplemental Questions,” July 6, 2016 (CVD Deficiency Questionnaire).

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4.  See letters from Petitioners, “Finished Carbon Steel Flanges from India: Response to Supplemental Questions,” dated July 8, 2016, and July 13, 2016, covering volume I (General Issues Supplement); letters from Petitioners, “Finished Carbon Steel Flanges from India: Response to CVD Supplement” dated July 8, 2016, and July 11, 2016.

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5.  See the “Determination of Industry Support for the Petition” section below.

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7.  See General Issues Supplemental Questionnaire and Second General Issues Supplemental Questionnaire; see also General Issues Supplement and Second General Issues Supplement.

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8.  See 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements); Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Electronic Filing Procedures; Administrative Protective Order Procedures, 76 FR 39263 (July 6, 2011), for details of the Department's electronic filing requirements, which went into effect on August 5, 2011. Information on help using ACCESS can be found at https://access.trade.gov/​help.aspx and a handbook can be found at https://access.trade.gov/​help/​Handbook%20on%20Electronic%20Filling%20Procedures.pdf.

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9.  S ee section 771(10) of the Act.

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10.  See USEC, Inc. v. United States, 132 F. Supp. 2d 1, 8 (CIT 2001) (citing Algoma Steel Corp., Ltd. v. United States, 688 F. Supp. 639, 644 (CIT 1988), aff'd 865 F.2d 240 (Fed. Cir. 1989)).

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11.  For a discussion of the domestic like product analysis in this case, see Countervailing Duty Investigation Initiation Checklist: Finished Carbon Steel Flanges from India (India CVD Initiation Checklist), at Attachment II, Analysis of Industry Support for the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions Covering Finished Carbon Steel Flanges from India, Italy, and Spain (Attachment II). This checklist is dated concurrently with this notice and on file electronically via ACCESS. Access to documents filed via ACCESS is also available in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building.

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12.  See Volume I of the Petition, at Exhibits I-15-A and I-15-B.

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13.  See Volume I of the Petition, at Exhibits I-15-A and I-15-B.

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15.  See India CVD Initiation Checklist, at Attachment II.

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16.  See section 702(c)(4)(D) of the Act; see also India CVD Initiation Checklist, at Attachment II.

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17.  See India CVD Initiation Checklist, at Attachment II.

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20.  See Volume I of the Petition, at 18-19; see also General Issues Supplement, at 6 and Exhibit 3.

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21.  See section 771(36)(B) of the Act.

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22.  See Volume I of the Petition, at 18-19; see also General Issues Supplement, at 6 and Exhibit 3.

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23.  See Volume I of the Petition, at 12-16, 18-34 and Exhibits I-2, I-9 and I-11 through I-14; see also General Issues Supplement, at 6 and Exhibit 3.

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24.  See India CVD Initiation Checklist, at Attachment III, Analysis of Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation for the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions Covering Finished Carbon Steel Flanges from India, Italy, and Spain.

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25.  See Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, Public Law 114-27, 129 Stat. 362 (2015).

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26.  See Dates of Application of Amendments to the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Laws Made by the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, 80 FR 46793 (August 6, 2015) (Applicability Notice). The 2015 amendments may be found at https://www.congress.gov/​bill/​114th-congress/​house-bill/​1295/​text/​pl.

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27.  See Dates of Application of Amendments to the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Laws Made by the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, 80 FR 46793 (August 6, 2015) (Applicability Notice), at 46794-95. The 2015 amendments may be found at https://www.congress.gov/​bill/​114th-congress/​house-bill/​1295/​text/​pl.

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28.  See Volume I of the Petition, at Exhibit I-6.

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29.  See section 703(a)(2) of the Act.

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30.  See section 703(a)(1) of the Act.

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31.  See section 782(b) of the Act.

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32.  See Certification of Factual Information To Import Administration During Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 42678 (July 17, 2013) (“Final Rule”); see also frequently asked questions regarding the Final Rule, available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/​tlei/​notices/​factual_​info_​final_​rule_​FAQ_​07172013.pdf.

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[FR Doc. 2016-17929 Filed 7-27-16; 8:45 am]

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