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ITA Extends Deadlines in a Range of Administrative Proceedings by 16 Days

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

As expected, the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration issued a memorandum Oct. 18 uniformly tolling for the duration of the recent federal government shutdown (i.e., by 16 days) all administrative deadlines related to the administration of antidumping and countervailing duty laws. This includes deadlines for actions by Enforcement and Compliance such as preliminary and final determinations in investigations and administrative reviews in AD/CV proceedings, as well as deadlines for actions by parties to ITA proceedings such as the submission of AD/CV questionnaire responses, supplemental questionnaire responses, and pre- and post-hearing briefs. Deadlines in all other proceedings currently before Enforcement and Compliance are also covered by this decision, including proceedings relating to foreign trade zones and any deadlines for submitting comments not connected with a specific proceeding (e.g., comment requests on proposed changes in methodology). In accordance with current practice, if the new deadline falls on a weekend or a federal holiday it will be moved to the next business day.

The memo indicates that Enforcement and Compliance could not accelerate its proceedings by the number of days on which the agency was closed because it lacks the necessary resources. In addition, the ITA believes that any such acceleration would have been unfair because the parties involved in AD/CV proceedings were unable to contact Enforcement and Compliance during the shutdown to obtain what might have been necessary clarifications regarding questionnaires, which may have possibly reduced the time available to prepare an adequate response. Moreover, Enforcement and Compliance was unable to consider deadline extension requests during the shutdown.

While the agency could have theoretically met certain deadlines and extended others, the memo acknowledges that sorting through hundreds of deadlines and determining on a case-by-case basis which deadlines to extend would have required a considerable amount of time and added to the overall delay. The memo adds that case-by-case determinations would have also been impossible to predict with any degree of certainty, “thereby leaving all parties to proceedings before Enforcement and Compliance uncertain as to the deadlines under which they were operating.”

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