Valeo North America, Inc. v. United States, 090919 USCIT, 18-00087

Docket Nº:18-00087, Slip Op. 19-119
Opinion Judge:Mark A. Barnett, Judge.
Party Name:VALEO NORTH AMERICA, INC., Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant, and PROAMPAC INTERMEDIATE, INC., AMPAC HOLDINGS, LLC, JEN-COAT, INC., MAHLE BEHR TROY INC., MAHLE BEHR USA INC., MAHLE BEHR DAYTON L.L.C., MAHLE BEHR CHARLESTON INC., MAHLE BEHR MANUFACTURING MANAGEMENT, INC., AND MAHLE MANUFACTURING MANAGEMENT, INC., Plaintiff-Intervenors, and ...
Attorney:Daniel Cannistra, Robert L. LaFrankie, and Alexander H. Schaefer, Crowell & Moring, LLP, of Washington, DC, for Plaintiff Valeo North America, Inc. Mark R. Ludwikowski and R. Kevin Williams, Clark Hill PLC, of Washington, DC, for Plaintiff-Intervenors ProAmpac Intermediate, Inc., Ampac Holdings, ...
Judge Panel:Before: Mark A. Barnett, Judge.
Case Date:September 09, 2019
Court:Court of International Trade
 
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VALEO NORTH AMERICA, INC., Plaintiff,

and

PROAMPAC INTERMEDIATE, INC., AMPAC HOLDINGS, LLC, JEN-COAT, INC., MAHLE BEHR TROY INC., MAHLE BEHR USA INC., MAHLE BEHR DAYTON L.L.C., MAHLE BEHR CHARLESTON INC., MAHLE BEHR MANUFACTURING MANAGEMENT, INC., AND MAHLE MANUFACTURING MANAGEMENT, INC., Plaintiff-Intervenors,

v.

UNITED STATES, Defendant,

and

ALUMINUM ASSOCIATION TRADE ENFORCEMENT WORKING GROUP AND ITS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS, JW ALUMINUM COMPANY, NOVELIS CORPORATION, AND REYNOLDS CONSUMER PRODUCTS LLC, Defendant-Intervenors.

No. 18-00087

Slip Op. 19-119

Court of Appeals of International Trade

September 9, 2019

[Denying Plaintiffs' motions for judgment on the agency record. The U.S. International Trade Commission's finding of a single domestic like product, inclusive of ultra-thin gauge aluminum foil and certain fin stock, is supported by substantial evidence and in accordance with law.]

Daniel Cannistra, Robert L. LaFrankie, and Alexander H. Schaefer, Crowell & Moring, LLP, of Washington, DC, for Plaintiff Valeo North America, Inc.

Mark R. Ludwikowski and R. Kevin Williams, Clark Hill PLC, of Washington, DC, for Plaintiff-Intervenors ProAmpac Intermediate, Inc., Ampac Holdings, LLC, Jen-Coat, Inc., MAHLE Behr Troy Inc., MAHLE Behr USA Inc., MAHLE Behr Dayton L.L.C., MAHLE Behr Charleston Inc., MAHLE Behr Manufacturing Management, Inc., and MAHLE Manufacturing Management, Inc.

Benjamin L. Allen, Attorney, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. International Trade Commission, of Washington, DC, for Defendant United States. With him on the brief were Dominic L. Bianchi, General Counsel, and Andrea C. Casson, Assistant General Counsel for Litigation.

John M. Herrmann, Paul C. Rosenthal, Kathleen W. Cannon, Grace W. Kim, and Joshua R. Morey, Kelley Drye & Warren, LLP, of Washington, DC, for Defendant-Intervenors Aluminum Association Trade Enforcement Working Group and its Individual Members, JW Aluminum Company, Novelis Corporation, and Reynolds Consumer Products LLC.

Before: Mark A. Barnett, Judge.

OPINION

Mark A. Barnett, Judge.

This consolidated action is before the court on three motions for judgment on the agency record challenging the United States International Trade Commission's ("ITC" or "the Commission") domestic like product determination in the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of aluminum foil from the People's Republic of China ("China"). See Aluminum Foil From China, 83 Fed. Reg. 16, 128 (ITC Apr. 13, 2018) (final determinations) ("Final Determinations"), 1 PR 240, CJA Tab 42. Specifically, Plaintiff, Valeo North America Inc. ("Valeo"), and Plaintiff-Intervenors- MAHLE Behr Troy Inc. ("MAHLE BT"), MAHLE Behr USA Inc., MAHLE Behr Dayton L.L.C., MAHLE Behr Charleston Inc., MAHLE Behr Manufacturing Management, Inc., and MAHLE Manufacturing Management, Inc. (collectively, "MAHLE")-challenge the ITC's inclusion of certain fin stock in the domestic like product as unsupported by substantial evidence and not in accordance with law. See Confidential Pl.'s 56.2 Mot. for J. on the Agency R. and Mem. of Law in Supp. of Pl.'s Confidential Rule 56.2 Mot. for J. Upon the Agency R. ("Valeo Mem."), ECF No. 74; Pl.-Ints.' Rule 56.2 Mot. for J. on the Agency R., and Pl.-Ints. MAHLE Behr Charleston Inc., MAHLE Behr Dayton L.L.C., MAHLE Behr Manufacturing Management, Inc., MAHLE Behr Troy Inc., MAHLE Behr USA Inc., MAHLE Manufacturing Management, Inc.'s Rule 56.2 Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. for J. on the Agency R. ("MAHLE Mem."), ECF No. 69. Plaintiff-Intervenors-ProAmpac Intermediate, Inc., Ampac Holdings, LLC, and Jen-Coat, Inc., doing business as Prolamina (collectively, "ProAmpac")-challenge the ITC's inclusion of ultra-thin gauge aluminum foil in the domestic like product as unsupported by substantial evidence and not in accordance with law. See Pl.-Ints.' Rule 56.2 Mot. for J. on the Agency R. and Mem. of Law in Supp. of Pls.' Rule 56.2 Mot. for J. on the Agency R. ("ProAmpac Mem."), ECF No. 67.

Defendant, United States ("the Government"), and Defendant-Intervenors, the Aluminum Association Trade Enforcement Working Group and its individual members (collectively, the "Aluminum Association"), 2 support the Commission's determinations. See Def. United States' Confidential Mem. in Opp'n to Pls.' Mots. for J. on the Agency R. ("Gov. Resp."), ECF No. 78; Aluminum Ass'n Resp. For the reasons discussed below, Valeo's, MAHLE's, and ProAmpac's motions are denied.

Jurisdiction and Standard of Review

The court has jurisdiction pursuant to Section 516A(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, 19 U.S.C. § 1516a(a)(2)(B)(i) (2012), 3 and 28 U.S.C. § 1581(c) (2012). The ITC's factual determinations are "presumed to be correct, " and "[t]he burden of proving otherwise . . . rest[s] upon the party challenging such decision." 28 U.S.C. § 2639(a)(1). The court will uphold an ITC determination that is supported by substantial evidence and otherwise in accordance with law. 19 U.S.C. § 1516a(b)(1)(B)(i). "Substantial evidence is 'such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'" Huaiyin Foreign Trade Corp. (30) v. United States, 322 F.3d 1369, 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)); see also Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd. v. U.S. Int'l Trade Comm'n., 879 F.3d 1377, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2018). It "requires more than a mere scintilla, " but "less than the weight of the evidence." Nucor Corp. v. United States, 34 CIT 70, 72, 675 F.Supp.2d 1340, 1345 (2010) (quoting Altx, Inc. v. United States, 370 F.3d 1108, 1116 (Fed. Cir. 2004)).

Background

I. Legal Framework

The U.S. Department of Commerce ("Commerce") and the ITC have distinct functions in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings. See Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Comm. v. United States, 515 F.3d 1372, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2008). "Commerce determines whether foreign imports into the United States are either being dumped or subsidized (or both), " and the ITC "determine[s] whether these dumped or subsidized imports are causing material injury to a domestic industry in the United States." Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd. v. U.S. Int'l Trade Comm'n, 39 CIT ___, ___, 100 F.Supp. 3d 1314, 1319 (2015) (citation omitted); see also 19 U.S.C. §§ 1671, 1673. Accordingly, "Commerce determines the scope of [an] investigation, " establishing the class or kind of foreign merchandise that would be subject to any resulting antidumping or countervailing duty order, Cleo Inc. v. United States, 30 CIT 1380, 1382 (2006), aff'd, 501 F.3d 1291 (Fed. Cir. 2007), while the Commission "identif[ies] the corresponding universe of items produced in the United States [by the affected industry] that are like, or in the absence of like, most similar in characteristics and uses with the items in the scope of the investigation, " Changzhou Trina Solar, 100 F.Supp. 3d at 1319 (citing 19 U.S.C. §§ 1673(i), 1671(a)) (additional citation and quotation and formatting marks omitted).4 Although the scope of an investigation "is necessarily the starting point of the Commission's like product analysis, " Cleo Inc. v. United States, 501 F.3d 1291, 1298 n.1 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (citing 19 U.S.C. § 1677(10)), the scope "does not control the Commission's determination, " id.; see also Hosiden Corp. v. Advanced Display Mfrs. of Am., 85 F.3d 1561, 1567 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (citation omitted).

The domestic like product determination is a fact-specific inquiry pursuant to which the Commission weighs "six factors relating to the products in question: (1) physical characteristics and uses; (2) common manufacturing facilities and production employees; (3) interchangeability; (4) customer perceptions; (5) channels of distribution; and, where appropriate, (6) price." Cleo, 501 F.3d at 1295. "When weighing those factors, the Commission disregards minor differences and focuses on whether there are any clear dividing lines between the products being examined." Id.

II. Factual and Procedural History

On March 6, 2017, the Aluminum Association, domestic producers of aluminum foil, filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions with Commerce and the ITC regarding imports of aluminum foil from China. See Petitions for Imposition of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties (Mar. 9, 2017), CR 1, PR 1, CJA Tab 1. The petitions covered aluminum foil with a thickness of 0.2 millimeters ("mm") or less, 5 in reels exceeding 25 pounds, regardless of width. Id. at 6–7. The petitions listed a range of uses for aluminum foil, including its use in the "manufacture [of] thermal insulation for the construction industry, fin stock for air conditioners, electrical coils for transformers, capacitors for radios and televisions, and insulation for storage tanks." Id. at 7.

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