On May 31, 2023, the Coalition for Fair Trade in Shopping Bags (comprised of Novolex Holdings, LLC and United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union) filed an antidumping duty (AD) petition on certain paper shopping bags from Cambodia, China, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Portugal, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam. The Coalition also filed a countervailing duty (CVD) petition on certain paper shopping bags from China and India. The Coalition alleges that imports of paper shopping bags from these countries, which represented approximately 65% of U.S. imports of paper shopping bags in the first quarter of 2023, are injuring the U.S. domestic industry because they are sold in the United States for less than “normal value” (i.e., dumped) and, in the case of imports from China and India, unfairly subsidized.
If the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) determines that such dumping or subsidization is occurring and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determines that these imports are materially injuring or threatening material injury to the U.S. domestic industry, the DOC may impose significant duties, which may equal or exceed the range of margins alleged in the petitions (ranging from 12.51% to 324.24%).
This Update provides further information about these petitions in the following sections below: (1) proposed scope of the investigations; (2) exporters, producers, and importers named in the petitions; (3) alleged dumping margins and subsidy rates; and (4) key dates and deadlines.
Sidley lawyers are available to advise and assist exporters, producers, and importers that may be affected by these AD/CVD petitions.
I. Proposed Scope of the Investigations
The Coalition requests that the scope of the investigations include paper shopping bags with handles of any type, regardless of whether there is any printing, regardless of how the top edges are finished (e.g., folded, serrated, or otherwise), and regardless of whether the tops can be sealed. Subject paper shopping bags have a width of at least 4.5 inches and depth of at least 2.5 inches.
Excluded from the scope:
- multiwall sacks and bags
- paper sacks or bags that are of a 1/6 or 1/7 barrel size (i.e., 11.5 to 12.5 inches in width, 6.5 to 7.5 inches in depth, and 13.5 to 17.5 inches in height) with flat paper handles
- paper sacks or bags with die-cut handles, a standard basis paper weight of less than 38 pounds, and a height of less than 11.5 inches
- shopping bags (i) with nonpaper handles made wholly of woven ribbon or other similar woven fabric and (ii) that are finished with folded tops or for which tied knots or t-bar aglets (made of wood, metal, or plastic) are used to secure the handles to the bags
- gift bags marked for retail sale that are physically bundled into the saleable unit prior to importation such that each bundled unit is composed of no less than three individual bags and no more than 30 individual bags
According to the Coalition, the imports described in the scope are currently classifiable under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States item numbers 4819.30.0040 and 4819.40.0040.
II. Exporters, Producers, and Importers Named in the Petitions
The Coalition identified the foreign exporters/producers of paper shopping bags in the nine countries included in the petitions and the U.S. importers of those paper shopping bags.
A list of the foreign exporters/producers is available here.
A list of the known U.S. importers is available here.
III. Alleged Dumping Margins and Subsidy Rates
The Coalition alleges that paper shopping bags imported from the nine countries included in the petitions are being dumped in the United States at the following margins:
- Cambodia: 44.29% to 221.36%
- China: 113.80% to 324.24%
- Colombia: 65.04%
- India: 22.05% to 88.56%
- Malaysia: 173.38%
- Portugal: 26.71% to 204.54%
- Taiwan: 44.76% to 50.13%
- Turkey: 12.51% to 45.29%
- Vietnam: 63.67% to 128.81%
Further, although the Coalition does not allege specific subsidy rates, the CVD petitions could add substantially to the total amount of duties imposed on imports of paper shopping bags from China and India.
IV. Key Dates and Deadlines
The ITC has already begun the data collection portion of the preliminary phase of its investigation by issuing questionnaires to foreign exporters/producers and U.S. importers. These questionnaires are available on the ITC’s website. The deadline to respond to these questionnaires is June 14, 2023.
The upcoming key dates and deadlines in the preliminary phases of the ITC’s and DOC’s investigations are listed below:
- Deadline to respond to the ITC’s preliminary questionnaires — June 14, 2023
- Deadline for request to appear at ITC conference — June 16, 2023
- Deadline for DOC initiation — June 20, 20231
- ITC conference — June 21, 2023
- ITC postconference briefs due from parties — June 26, 2023
- ITC vote date — July 14, 2023
- DOC preliminary CVD determinations — August 24, 2023 (may be extended)
- DOC preliminary AD determinations — November 7, 2023 (may be extended)
1 If the DOC initiates these investigations, it will establish a series of additional deadlines allowing interested parties to comment on important aspects of its investigations, including the scope of the investigations and the selection of particular exporters/producers as mandatory respondents. The DOC will then usually select one or two mandatory respondents from each country included in the petitions for each of the AD and CVD investigations and issue detailed questionnaires to those mandatory respondents with very tight deadlines.
Sidley Austin LLP provides this information as a service to clients and other friends for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers.
Attorney Advertising—Sidley Austin LLP, One South Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60603. +1 312 853 7000. Sidley and Sidley Austin refer to Sidley Austin LLP and affiliated partnerships, as explained at www.sidley.com/disclaimer.
© Sidley Austin LLP