WASHINGTON (March 13) — The International Trade Commission has overwhelmingly rejected a petition by Gates Corp. and others to institute a "changed circumstances" review of a 55-percent anti-dumping duty against polychloroprene rubber from Japan.
The vote was 5-0, with one commissioner not participating in the vote. Gates, Goodyear and about a dozen other rubber manufacturers argued that because Polimeri Europe S.p.A. closed its PCR plant in Europe and DuPont Performance Elastomers L.L.P. plans to shutter its neoprene facility in Louisville, Ky., this represents a dangerous supply shortage of PCR in the U.S.
However, DuPont and neoprene importer Lanxess Corp. said that U.S. supplies of their products are adequate to meet demand, and that recent price increases are due merely to spiraling raw materials prices. As is usual with the ITC, the commission gave no immediate reason for its vote but planned to publish a notice in the Federal Register explaining its reasoning.
Frank Schuchat, a Denver attorney representing Gates, said the company is very disappointed by the ruling. "We wanted DuPont to show how a company that enjoys a virtual monopoly over U.S. manufacture of a certain material could claim to be materially injured by imports," Schuchat said.
A spokeswoman for DuPont, however, said the company was pleased with the decision, and that DuPont always tries to work with customers to make sure their needs are being met. "We are not aware of any customer who is unable to get product from us," she said.