NEW YORK—A judge before the U.S. Court of International Trade has approved the removal of countervailing duties against off-the-road tires imported to the U.S. by Sri Lankan manufacturers.
Judge Jane Restani of the CIT issued an opinion approving removal of the duties July 11, three months after remanding the U.S. Department of Commerce's duty rates for recalculation.
The case began in January 2016, when Titan International Inc. and the United Steelworkers union filed petitions under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act, requesting antidumping and countervailing duties against pneumatic OTR tires from Sri Lanka, India and China.
The ITC ruled there was insufficient evidence of dumping against Sri Lankan OTR tire importers, but the U.S. Commerce Department ruled on Jan. 4, 2017, to find very low countervailing duty rates against them.
Commerce levied countervailing duties of 2.18 percent against Camso Loadstar (Private) Ltd. and all other importers.
Camso and the government of Sri Lanka appealed the duties, arguing that the tax incentive programs Commerce cited provided no benefit to Sri Lankan OTR tire importers and should not be the cause of countervailing duties.
Restani ruled April 17, 2018, that Sri Lanka's Guaranteed Price Scheme for Rubber (GPS) amounted only to 0.95 percent and did not constitute a per se benefit to Sri Lankan OTR tire importers.
"Commerce may wish to conduct a full upstream study analysis on remand, or otherwise examine whether some part of the reimbursement actually benefited Camso," she wrote.
Commerce removed the GPS-related duty on remand. In her July 11 decision, Restani noted that this left a de minimis countervailing duty rate of 1.23 percent, and ruled that all countervailing duties should be rescinded.
The Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLAMERP) hailed the CIT decision as the first-ever revocation of a U.S. countervailing duty against a Sri Lankan import.
"This will bring about significant reinforcement to the tire industry," SLAMERP Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe said in a press release. "The U.S. is considered a principal and colossal market for SLAMERP members classified under the segment of OTR tire exports.
"This judgment has brought about great consequence towards the development of this nation," Subasinghe said.