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Import Restrictions on Clothes Washers Could Result from New Safeguard Probe

Monday, June 12, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Trade Commission has instituted a global safeguard investigation that could result in a new tariff-rate quota on large residential washers. In this investigation, which will be conducted under section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act, the ITC will determine whether such goods are being imported in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause or threat of serious injury to a U.S. industry. The relief being sought is a three-year TRQ that would permit a base level of subject goods to enter the U.S. without safeguard tariffs while ensuring that the domestic industry would not experience further injury due to additional surges in imports.

The articles covered by this investigation are all LRWs and certain parts thereof. For purposes of this investigation, the term LRW denotes all automatic clothes washing machines, regardless of the orientation of the rotational axis, with a cabinet width (measured from its widest point) of at least 24.5 inches (62.23 cm) and no more than 32.0 inches (81.28 cm). Also covered are the following LRW parts: (1) all cabinets, or portions thereof, designed for use in LRWs; (2) all assembled tubs designed for use in LRWs that incorporate, at a minimum, a tub and a seal; (3) all assembled baskets designed for use in LRWs that incorporate, at a minimum, a side wrapper, a base, and a drive hub; and (4) any combination of the foregoing parts or subassemblies. The goods covered by this investigation are provided for under HTSUS 8450.20.00 and may also be imported under HTSUS 8450.11.00, 8450.90.20, and 8450.90.60.

Excluded from the investigation are stacked washer‐dryers, commercial washers, and automatic clothes washing machines that meet specified conditions.

The ITC initiated this investigation June 5. Hearings will be held Sept. 7 on the issue of injury and, if the ITC’s injury determination is affirmative, Oct. 19 on the question of remedy. Requests to appear at these hearings are due by Aug. 31 and Oct. 13, respectively. Pre-hearing briefs are due by Aug. 29 and Oct. 12, respectively, and post-hearing briefs are due by Sept. 14 and Oct. 22, respectively.

The ITC has determined that this investigation is extraordinarily complicated based on the complexity of the issues, including the existence of antidumping and/or countervailing duty orders on certain covered goods. As a result, the ITC has postponed its injury determination from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5. The ITC intends to submit its report to the president no later than Dec. 4.

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