Exclusion of Rubbermaid Mop Products From Aluminum Extrusion AD/CVD Order Approved

On July 22, 2015, the Court of International Trade issued an opinion approving the Department of Commerce’s redetermination excluding thirteen Rubbermaid’s mop products from the AD/CVD Order on aluminum extrusions from China.  Commerce’s redetermination was the result of a previous Court of International Trade ruling ordering Commerce to reassess Rubbermaid’s exclusion claims.  In the redetermination, Commerce found that Rubbermaid’s products were excluded under both the “finished merchandise” and “finished goods kit” exclusions.

In making its decision, Commerce articulated a “revised interpretation” of the “finished merchandise” exclusion stating “a product . . . that contains aluminum extrusions as parts along with additional non-aluminum components may meet the exclusion criteria for ‘finished merchandise’ provided that the good is ‘fully and permanently assembled and completed at the time of entry,’ regardless of whether it is later incorporated with other components, or assembled into a larger downstream product.”   Interestingly, on March 2, 2015, Commerce excluded Frohsin & Barger client Aqua EZ’s pool maintenance poles under similar reasoning, stating “Aqua EZ’s Side Cam-Lock Telepole and Ribbed Telescopic Poles are fully and permanently assembled and completed at the time of entry, and therefore we find Aqua EZ’s Side Cam-Lock Telepole and Ribbed Telescopic Pole are excluded from the scope as finished goods.”

In its redetermination, Commerce also excluded Rubbermaid’s products under the “finished goods kit” exclusion.  Also similar to the Aqua EZ Scope Ruling, Commerce based its reasoning for exclusion on the intended interchangeability of the Rubbermaid products.  In Aqua EZ, Commerce noted the versatile nature of the imported pool poles and stated: “the Department finds that it would be unreasonable to require the inclusion of interchangeable attachments.” Similarly, in the recent Rubbermaid redetermination, Commerce found “the merchandise…was covered by the exclusion for finished goods kits, because the missing components were due to the merchandise’s interchangeable design.”

Coupled with the recent Court of International Trade ruling in Meridian Products LLC. v. U.S., which overruled Commerce’s constrained definition of the “finished goods kit exclusion,” this decision signifies a significant expansion of both the “finished merchandise” and “finished goods kit” exclusions.  Therefore, U.S. importers of aluminum extrusions may be more likely to receive exclusions from the Orders and its significant duties.

The Rubbermaid decision is Rubbermaid Commercial Products LLC v. United States, No. 11-00463, 2015 WL 4478225 (Ct. Int’l Trade July 22, 2015) and can be accessed here

If you have questions about antidumping duties or antidumping order scope exclusions, please contact Frohsin & Barger at 205.933.4006 ext. 5.