The U.S. International Trade Commission threw out the anti-dumping and countervailing duties placed on fabricated structural steel from China, Canada and Mexico ruling that such imports do not harm U.S. producers by a vote of 3 to 2.
The ITC negative determination, released on February 25, is a finding that imports of fabricated steel did not harm the domestic industry.
Commerce previously found that Chinese fabricators were both dumping and subsidizing imports at rates of up to 360% and Mexican fabricators at up 99.45% while Canadian importers were hit with a relatively tame dumping duties of up to 6.7%. All of those import duties will go away due to the ITC's negative determination, a very rare and stark disagreement by the ITC with the findings of the Commerce Department.
"We're disappointed," said Brian Raff, director of government relations with the American Institute of Steel Construction, which brought the legal action on behalf of its member U.S.-based fabricators. "We're going to read the full report when it's available to try to figure out what our next steps are."
The commissioners voted 3 to 2 in the ruling. The ITC is still operating without a sixth commissioner as the last seat on the commission remains unfilled after President Trump's 2017 nominee was returned by the U.S. Senate.
Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Jason E. Kearns and Randolph J. Stayin voted in the negative. Commissioners Rhonda K. Schmidtlein and Amy A. Karpel voted in the affirmative (for imposing duties on imports from the three countries).
Commissioner F. Scott Kieff's term ended June 30, 2017 and President Donald Trump nominated Dennis M. Devaney of Novi, Mich., to be replace Kieff and fill out the board on September 28, 2017. In January 2019, Devaney's nomination was returned to the President by the Senate without a vote. The term that Devaney was nominated to fill would have ended in 2023 if he had been voted on and confirmed.
The ITC is not a court, its commissioners act, rather, as administrative law judges. Their terms are for nine years, or, when filling a vacated seat, for the remainder of a term. Their terms are also staggered to end 18 months apart. No more than three of the commissioners may be of the same political party. Johanson, Schmidtlein and Kearns were nominated by President Obama,> Stayin and Karpel were nominated by President Trump.
A report explaining each commissioner's thinking will be released by April 6.