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Notice

Certain Quartz Surface Products From India: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination, Preliminary Affirmative Critical Circumstances Determination, In Part, 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 (Commerce) preliminarily determines that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of certain quartz surface products (quartz surface products) from India for the period of investigation April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019. Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination.

DATES:

Applicable October 11, 2019.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kristen Johnson or Stephanie Moore, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4793 or (202) 482-3692, respectively.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

This preliminary determination is made in accordance with section 703(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). Commerce published the notice of initiation of this investigation on June 3, 2019.[1] On July 3, 2019, Commerce postponed the preliminary determination of this investigation and the revised deadline is now October 7, 2019.[2] For a complete description of the events that followed the initiation of this investigation, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.[3] A list of topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is included as Appendix II to this notice. The Preliminary Start Printed Page 54839Decision 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 https://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/​frn/​. The signed and electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

Scope of the Investigation

The products covered by this investigation are quartz surface products from India. For a complete description of the scope of this investigation, see Appendix I.

Scope Comments

In accordance with the Preamble to Commerce's regulations,[4] the Initiation Notice set aside a period of time for parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (i.e., scope).[5] Certain interested parties commented on the scope of the investigation as it appeared in the Initiation Notice. Commerce intends to issue its preliminary decision regarding comments concerning the scope of the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations in the preliminary determination of the companion AD investigation.

Methodology

Commerce is conducting this investigation in accordance with section 701 of the Act. For each of the subsidy programs found countervailable, Commerce preliminarily determines 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.[6]

Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Critical Circumstances, In Part

In accordance with section 703(e)(1) of the Act, Commerce preliminarily determines that critical circumstances do not exist with respect to Pokarna Engineered Stone Limited (Pokarna) and Antique Marbonite Private Limited, India (Antique Marbonite) but do exist with respect to imports of quartz surface products from India for all other exporters or producers not individually examined. For a full description of the methodology and results of Commerce's analysis, see 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), Commerce is aligning the final CVD determination in this investigation with the final determination in the companion AD investigation of quartz surface products from India based on a request made by the petitioner.[7] Consequently, the final CVD determination will be issued on the same date as the final AD determination, which is currently scheduled no later than February 18, 2020, unless postponed.[8]

All-Others Rate

Sections 703(d) and 705(c)(5)(A) of the Act provide that in the preliminary determination, Commerce shall determine an estimated all-others rate for companies not individually examined. This rate shall be an amount equal to the weighted average of the estimated subsidy rates established for those companies individually examined, excluding any zero and de minimis rates and any rates based entirely under section 776 of the Act.

In this investigation, Commerce preliminarily found a de minimis rate for Antique Marbonite. Therefore, the only rate that is not zero, de minimis or based entirely on facts otherwise available is the rate calculated for Pokarna. Consequently, the rate calculated for Pokarna is also assigned as the rate for all other producers and exporters.

Preliminary Determination

Commerce preliminarily determines that the following estimated countervailable subsidy rates exist:

CompanySubsidy rate ad valorem (percent)
Antique Marbonite Private Limited, India (Antique Marbonite) 9* 1.57
Pokarna Engineered Stone Limited (Pokarna) 104.32
All Others4.32
* De minimis. India is considered a developing country and has a de minimis rate of 2.0 percent.11

Suspension of Liquidation

In accordance with section 703(d)(1)(B) and (d)(2) of the Act, Commerce will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend liquidation of entries of subject merchandise as described in the scope of the investigation section entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Further, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.205(d), Commerce will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the rates indicated above. Because the subsidy rate for Antique Marbonite is de minimis, Commerce is directing CBP not to suspend liquidation of entries of the merchandise produced by Antique Start Printed Page 54840Marbonite and exported by Antique Marbonite, Antique Trust, Prism Johnson, or Shivam. However, entries of subject merchandise in any other producer/exporter combination, e.g., merchandise produced by a third party and exported by Antique Marbonite, Antique Trust, Prism Johnson, or Shivam, or produced by Antique Marbonite and exported by a third party are subject to the cash deposit requirements at the all-others rate.

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. Commerce preliminarily finds that critical circumstances exist for imports of quartz surface products from India for all other exporters or producers not individually examined. In accordance with section 703(e)(2)(A) of the Act, the suspension of liquidation shall apply to unliquidated entries of merchandise from all other exporters or producers not individually examined that were entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date which is 90 days before the publication of this notice.

Disclosure

Commerce intends to disclose its calculations and analysis performed to interested parties in this preliminary determination within five days of its public announcement, or if there is no public announcement, within five days of the date of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

Verification

As provided in section 782(i)(1) of the Act, Commerce intends to verify the information relied upon in making its final determination.

Public Comment

Case briefs or other written comments may be submitted to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance no later than seven days after the date on which the last verification report is issued in this investigation. Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in case briefs, may be submitted no later than five days after the deadline date for case briefs.[12] Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2), parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this investigation are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.

Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing, limited to issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs, must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. Requests should contain the party's name, address, and telephone number, the number of participants, whether any participant is a foreign national, and a list of the issues to be discussed. If a request for a hearing is made, Commerce intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230, at a time and date to be determined. Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date.

International Trade Commission Notification

In accordance with section 703(f) of the Act, Commerce will notify the International Trade Commission (ITC) of its determination. If the final determination is affirmative, the ITC will determine before the later of 120 days after the date of this preliminary determination or 45 days after the final determination.

Notification to Interested Parties

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: October 7, 2019.

Jeffrey I. Kessler,

Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

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Appendix I

Scope of the Investigation

The merchandise covered by the investigation is certain quartz surface products. Quartz surface products consist of slabs and other surfaces created from a mixture of materials that includes predominately silica (e.g., quartz, quartz powder, cristobalite, glass powder) as well as a resin binder (e.g., an unsaturated polyester). The incorporation of other materials, including, but not limited to, pigments, cement, or other additives does not remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation. However, the scope of the investigation only includes products where the silica content is greater than any other single material, by actual weight. Quartz surface products are typically sold as rectangular slabs with a total surface area of approximately 45 to 60 square feet and a nominal thickness of one, two, or three centimeters. However, the scope of this investigation includes surface products of all other sizes, thicknesses, and shapes. In addition to slabs, the scope of this investigation includes, but is not limited to, other surfaces such as countertops, backsplashes, vanity tops, bar tops, work tops, tabletops, flooring, wall facing, shower surrounds, fire place surrounds, mantels, and tiles. Certain quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether polished or unpolished, cut or uncut, fabricated or not fabricated, cured or uncured, edged or not edged, finished or unfinished, thermoformed or not thermoformed, packaged or unpackaged, and regardless of the type of surface finish.

In addition, quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether or not they are imported attached to, or in conjunction with, non-subject merchandise such as sinks, sink bowls, vanities, cabinets, and furniture. If quartz surface products are imported attached to, or in conjunction with, such non-subject merchandise, only the quartz surface product is covered by the scope.

Subject merchandise includes material matching the above description that has been finished, packaged, or otherwise fabricated in a third country, including by cutting, polishing, curing, edging, thermoforming, attaching to, or packaging with another product, or any other finishing, packaging, or fabrication that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the quartz surface products. The scope of the investigation does not cover quarried stone surface products, such as granite, marble, soapstone, or quartzite. Specifically excluded from the scope of the investigation are crushed glass surface products. Crushed glass surface products must meet each of the following criteria to qualify for this exclusion: (1) The crushed glass content is greater than any other single material, by actual weight; (2) there are pieces of crushed glass visible across the surface of the product; (3) at least some of the individual pieces of crushed glass that are visible across the surface are larger than 1 centimeter wide as measured at their widest cross-section (“Glass Pieces”); and (4) the distance between any single Glass Piece and the closest separate Glass Piece does not exceed three inches.

The products subject to the scope are currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under the following subheading: 6810.99.0010. Subject merchandise may also enter under subheadings 6810.11.0010, 6810.11.0070, 6810.19.1200, 6810.19.1400, 6810.19.5000, 6810.91.0000, 6810.99.0080, 6815.99.4070, 2506.10.0010, 2506.10.0050, 2506.20.0010, 2506.20.0080, and 7016.90.1050. The HTSUS subheadings set forth above are provided for convenience and U.S. Customs purposes only. The written description of the scope is dispositive.

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Appendix II

List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum

I. Summary

II. Background

III. Scope Comments

IV. Scope of the Investigation

V. Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Critical Circumstances, In Part

VI. Injury Test

VII. Alignment

VIII. Subsidies Valuation

IX. Benchmarks and Interest Rates

X. Use of Facts Otherwise Available

XI. Analysis of Programs

XII. Disclosure and Public Comment

XIII. Conclusion

End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  See Certain Quartz Surface Products from India and the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigations, 84 FR 25524 (June 3, 2019) (Initiation Notice).

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2.  See Certain Quartz Surface Products from India and the Republic of Turkey: Postponement of Preliminary Determinations in the Countervailing Duty Investigations, 84 FR 31839 (July 3, 2019).

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3.  See Memorandum, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination of the Countervailing Duty Investigation of Certain Quartz Surface Products from India,” dated concurrently with, and hereby adopted by, this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

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4.  See Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties, Final Rule, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997) (Preamble).

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5.  See Initiation Notice.

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6.  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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7.  See Petitioner's Letter, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from India: Request for Alignment,” dated October 1, 2019.

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8.  See Certain Quartz Surface Products from India and the Republic of Turkey: Postponement of the Preliminary Determinations in the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations, 84 FR 52062 (October 1, 2019).

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9.  As discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, Commerce has found the following companies to be cross-owned with Antique Marbonite Private Limited, India: Antique Granito Shareholders Trust (Antique Trust), Prism Johnson Limited (Prism Johnson), and Shivam Enterprises (Shivam).

10.  As discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, Commerce has found the following company to be cross-owned with Pokarna: Pokarna Limited.

11.  See Developing and Least-Developed Country Designations under the Countervailing Duty Law, 63 FR 29945 (June 2, 1998). The higher de minimis subsidization rate of 3.0 percent, under Article 27.11 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, expired on December 31, 2002.

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12.  See 19 CFR 351.309; see also 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements).

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[FR Doc. 2019-22314 Filed 10-10-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P