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Mid Continent Nail Corp. v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
846 F.3d 1364 (2017)


Facts

The Department of Commerce (Commerce) was responsible for enforcing anti-dumping laws, which determined whether foreign competitors of American companies were selling product in the United States at discriminatorily low prices. To determine whether a product violated anti-dumping laws, Commerce typically compared either the average or specific transactional price of imported merchandise to the average or specific transactional price of comparable merchandise. If Commerce detected a suspicious pattern of pricing that could not be explained using this methodology, Commerce compared average prices to specific transactional prices, instead of comparing average-to-average or transactional-to-transactional prices. Commerce limited its use of this second method by confining its application to sales that constituted targeted dumping, rather than to all sales by the supposedly offending importer. This was known as the Limiting Regulation. Mid Continent Nail Corp. (Mid Continent) (plaintiff) brought suit against Precision Fasteners, LLC, (Precision) (defendant) claiming violation of anti-dumping laws. Under the Limiting Regulation, Precision’s sales would not have violated anti-dumping laws. However, if the average-to-transactional methodology were applied to all of Precision’s sales, and not just to those sales that Commerce could identify as targeted dumping, Precision would have been in violation of the laws and a duty would have been imposed on Precision’s imports. Shortly prior to these events, Commerce withdrew the Limiting Regulation. Commerce preceded this withdrawal by publishing a request for comment, in which Commerce sought guidance regarding an appropriate test for determining targeted dumping. Commerce also published a proposed methodology for making this determination. Commerce then applied the average-to-transactional methodology to Precision and found a violation of anti-dumping laws. Precision appealed, arguing that the Limiting Regulation was never properly repealed and was thus still in force.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dyk, J.)

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