Asociacion Colombiana de Exportadores v. U.S.

Decision Date25 March 1998
Docket NumberCourt No. 96-09-02209.,Slip Op. 98-33.
Citation6 F.Supp.2d 865
PartiesASOCIACION COLOMBIANA de EXPORTADORES de FLORES, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant, Floral Trade Council, Defendant-Intervenor.
CourtU.S. Court of International Trade

Frank W. Hunger, Asst. Atty. Gen. of U.S.; David M. Cohen, Director, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Div., U.S. Dept. of Justice; Velta A. Melnbrencis, Asst. Director, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Div., U.S. Dept. of Justice; of counsel, Lucius B. Lau, Office of Chief Counsel for Import Admin., U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC, for Defendant; Karen L. Bland, Jeffrey C. Lowe, Bernd G. Janzen, Sanjay J. Mullick, Attorney-Advisors, Office of Chief Counsel for Import Admin., Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

Stewart and Stewart (Mara Burr, James R. Cannon, Jr., Amy S. Dwyer, Terence P. Stewart), Washington, DC, for Floral Trade Council.

OPINION

POGUE, Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the motion of Plaintiffs, Asocolflores1, sixteen individual producers, exporters and importers of fresh cut flowers from Colombia, and Defendant-Intervenor, the Floral Trade Council ("FTC"), for judgment on the agency record, pursuant to U.S. CIT Rule 56.2. The parties filed separate actions challenging certain aspects of the Department of Commerce's final results of the consolidated fifth, sixth, and seventh administrative reviews of the antidumping duty order on Certain Fresh Cut Flowers From Colombia. The actions were consolidated.

The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1581(c) (1994) and 19 U.S.C. § 1516a(a)(2)(B)(iii)(1994).

The sixteen producers/exporters/importers consist of the following: (1) Flores del Rio Group, (2) HOSA Group, (3) Eden Floral Farms, (4) Equiflor, (5) Espirit Miami, (6) Floralex, Ltda., (7) Flores de Exportacion S.A., (8) Agricola Guacari, S.A., (9) Flores Altamira, S.A., (10) Four Farmers Inc., (11) Santa Helena, S.A., (12) Flores Del Salitre Ltda., (13) S.B. Talee De Colombia Ltda., (14) Agrodex Group, (15) Caicedo Group, and (16) Santana Group.

The parties raise eleven issues: (1) inflation adjustments; (2) imputed U.S. credit expenses; (3) U.S. selling expenses; (4) allocation of cost of production; (5) application of best information available; (6) collapsing parties; (7) interest income offset; (8) commissions paid to related consignees; (9) calculation of foreign market value; (10) third country selling expenses; and (11) cash deposit instructions.2

BACKGROUND

Following investigations by the Department of Commerce ("Commerce" or "Department") and the U.S. International Trade Commission, an antidumping duty order was entered against Certain Fresh Cut Flowers From Colombia in 1987. That antidumping duty order covered standard carnations, miniature (spray) carnations, standard chrysanthemums, and pompon chrysanthemums. See Certain Fresh Cut Flowers From Colombia, 52 Fed.Reg. 8,492 (Dep't Commerce March 18, 1987)(amend. final det.). The order imposed an estimated antidumping duty rate on all entries of the subject merchandise for the period of investigation ("POI"). See Sections 735, 736 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended 19 U.S.C. §§ 1673d(c), 1673e (1988). It also established the duty deposit rate for all merchandise entered after the issuance of the order and prior to the issuance of a revised rate pursuant to section 1675. Id.

The antidumping statute provides for the Department of Commerce to conduct an administrative review of an antidumping duty order upon the request of an interested party. 19 U.S.C. § 1675. As a result of the administrative proceeding, Commerce determines the actual antidumping duty rate for the entries covered by that administrative review, which also establishes the duty deposit rate for future entries. 19 U.S.C. § 1675(a)(2).

In the present case, Commerce initiated the fifth administrative review of fresh cut flowers from Colombia, on May 21, 1992, covering over 400 Colombian firms for the period March 1, 1991, through February 29, 1992. See Certain Fresh Cut Flowers From Colombia, 57 Fed.Reg. 21,643 (Dep't Commerce 1992)(init.admin.reviews).

On May 28, 1993, Commerce initiated the sixth administrative review of fresh cut flowers from Colombia for the period March 1, 1992, through February 28, 1993. See Certain Fresh Cut Flowers From Colombia, 58 Fed.Reg. 31,010 (Dep't Commerce 1993)(init.admin.reviews).

On May 2, 1994, Commerce initiated the seventh review for the period March 1, 1993 through February 28, 1994. See Certain Fresh Cut Flowers From Colombia, 59 Fed. Reg. 22,579 (Dep't Commerce 1994)(init.admin.reviews). On May 9, 1994, Commerce notified the interested parties of its decision to conduct the fifth, sixth and seventh administrative reviews concurrently and informed them that all subsequent responses should be submitted for the three review periods. On June 8, 1995, Commerce published the preliminary results of these consolidated reviews. Certain Fresh Cut Flowers From Colombia, 60 Fed.Reg. 30,270 (Dep't Commerce 1995)(prel. results admin. reviews) [hereinafter preliminary results]. The final determination followed on August 19, 1996. Certain Fresh Cut Flowers From Colombia, 61 Fed.Reg. 42,833 (Dep't Commerce 1996)(final results admin. reviews)[hereinafter final determination].3

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The antidumping statute provides for the judicial review of the administrative review determination. 19 U.S.C. § 1516a. In reviewing the final results of an administrative review, the Court of International Trade must decide whether Commerce's determination is in accordance with law and whether Commerce's conclusions are supported by substantial evidence on the record. See 19 U.S.C. § 1516a(b)(1)(B).

In determining whether Commerce's interpretation and application of the antidumping statute is in accordance with law, this court applies the two-step analysis articulated in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 842-43, 104 S.Ct. 2778, 2781-82, 81 L.Ed.2d 694 (1984), as applied and refined by the Federal Circuit. The first task is "to determine whether Congress has `directly spoken to the precise question at issue.'" Id. If the statute unambiguously deals with the subject matter in issue, the court, as well as the agency, must give effect to the intent of Congress. Id.; see, e.g., Ad Hoc Committee of AZ-NM-TX-FL Producers of Gray Portland Cement v. United States, 13 F.3d 398, 402-403 (Fed.Cir.1994); Zenith Electronics Corp. v. United States, 988 F.2d 1573, 1582 (Fed.Cir.1993).

"The primary source for determining legislative intent is the statutory language itself, `which is presumed to be used in its normal sense, in the absence of proof of a special meaning in the trade.'" Holford USA Ltd. v. United States, 19 CIT 1486, 1493, 912 F.Supp. 555, 561 (1995) (quoting United States v. Esso Standard Oil Co., 42 C.C.P.A. 144, 151 (1955)); Smith v. United States, 508 U.S. 223, 228, 113 S.Ct. 2050, 2054, 124 L.Ed.2d 138 (1993); Connecticut Nat'l Bank v. Germain, 503 U.S. 249, 253-54, 112 S.Ct. 1146, 1149, 117 L.Ed.2d 391 (1992).

"If the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue, the question for the court is whether the agency's answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute." Chevron, 467 U.S. at 843, 104 S.Ct. at 2782. Considerable weight is accorded Commerce's construction of the antidumping laws, whether that construction manifests itself in the application of the statute, see, e.g., Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Int'l Union of Elec., Technical, Salaried and Mach. Workers, 6 F.3d 1511, 1516 (Fed.Cir.1993), cert denied, 512 U.S. 1204, 114 S.Ct. 2672, 129 L.Ed.2d 808 (1994); Fujitsu Gen. Ltd. v. United States, 88 F.3d 1034, 1039 (Fed.Cir.1996), or in the promulgation of a regulation, see, e.g., Smith-Corona Group v. United States, 713 F.2d 1568, 1575 (Fed.Cir.1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1022, 104 S.Ct. 1274, 79 L.Ed.2d 679 (1984).

When examining Commerce's factual determinations to decide whether they are supported by substantial evidence, the court must determine whether the record contains "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support [Commerce's] conclusion." Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229, 59 S.Ct. 206, 217, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938); Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 477, 71 S.Ct. 456, 459, 95 L.Ed. 456 (1951)(quoted in Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. United States, 750 F.2d 927, 933 (Fed.Cir. 1984)). Substantial evidence "is something less than the weight of the evidence, and the possibility of drawing two inconsistent conclusions from the evidence does not prevent an administrative agency's finding from being supported by substantial evidence." Consolo v. Federal Maritime Comm'n, 383 U.S. 607, 619-20, 86 S.Ct. 1018, 1026, 16 L.Ed.2d 131 (1966).

DISCUSSION

Commerce calculates an antidumping duty by comparing an imported product's price in the United States to the foreign market value ("FMV") of comparable merchandise. The duty is the amount by which the merchandise's FMV exceeds its United States price ("USP"). See 19 U.S.C. § 1673. Foreign market value is the price of the merchandise in the producer's home market or its export price to countries other than the United States. 19 U.S.C. § 1677b(a)(1).

Foreign market value...

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