As discussed in a number of posts on this blog, "zeroing" is under attack in various ways at the WTO and in domestic courts. But even if these attacks succeed, as noted here "targeted dumping" may become the new way to use "zeroing" as part of an anti-dumping investigation. Here's more on this new form of zeroing in relation to a wood flooring anti-dumping case:
U.S. engineered wood flooring manufacturers have alleged certain producers in China are performing "targeted dumping," or selling a product in the U.S. at a lower price to certain customers or in certain regions than they do to other customers. The Coalition for American Hardwood Parity (CAHP) made the allegations in a petition to the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) on Tuesday.
The new allegation comes in anticipation of a preliminary ruling from DOC in its ongoing antidumping investigation of engineered wood flooring from China. The allegation could result in DOC using a different methodology to determine its antidumping duty, according to a CAHP release.
Jonathan Train, president of the Alliance for Free Choice & Jobs in Flooring (AFCJF), a group opposed to the implementation of antidumping duties, says CAHP's petition is an attempt to "find a backdoor loophole" to permit DOC to use an antidumping duty methodology known as "zeroing." With zeroing, Train said, DOC bases its antidumping duty determination "only on the dumped sales, ignoring the non-dumped sales and excluding non-dumped sales from its averages." In turn, zeroing artificially and inaccurately increases antidumping duties, Train said. He added that zeroing has been largely discredited by the World Trade Organization (WTO), of which the U.S. is a founding member.
Jeff Levin is counsel for CAHP and, citing the attorney-client privilege, would not say whether his organization is pursuing DOC to use zeroing in its antidumping duty determination; however, he did say his group's latest allegations "were filed in full accord with the controlling statute and regulations." He added, "… We trust that the Department of Commerce will employ appropriate and applicable methodologies in its calculations of estimated dumping margins."
Is "targeted dumping" just another way to use "zeroing," by excluding various non-dumped sales? Is it legitimate in some cases, but in need of oversight to make sure it is not abused as a "zeroing" substitute? What will U.S. courts and the WTO dispute settlement process say about the specific implementation of targeted dumping?