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2 May 20236 minute read

New antidumping duty petition: boltless steel shelving units from India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam

On April 25, 2023, Edsal Manufacturing Co, Inc. filed a petition with the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that boltless steel shelving units (Boltless SSU) from India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam (the subject countries) are being sold in the US at less than fair value.

The petitioners seek the imposition of antidumping (AD) duties on imports of Boltless SSU from the subject countries, alleging dumping margins of 215.77 percent for India, 41.29 percent to 232.94 percent for Malaysia, 217.66 percent for Taiwan, 177.72 percent to 188.06 percent for Thailand, and 85.24 percent to 205.49 percent for Vietnam.

Under US law, a domestic industry can petition the government to initiate an AD investigation to determine whether an imported product is sold in the US at less than fair value (ie, dumped). AD duties may be imposed if the DOC determines that imported goods are dumped and if the ITC determines that the domestic industry is materially injured or threatened with such injury by reason of the subject imports.

Products covered by the petition

The merchandise covered by the petition is Boltless SSU, which are steel shelving units in which the vertical and horizontal supports forming the frame are assembled primarily without the use of nuts and bolts or screws. The vertical and horizontal support members for boltless steel shelving are assembled by methods such as fitting a rivet, punched or cut tab, or other similar connector on one support into a hole, slot or similar receptacle on another support. The supports lock together to form the frame for the shelving unit and provide the structural integrity of the unit. 

The Boltless SSU covered by the petition are prepackaged for sale, which means that, at a minimum, the steel vertical and horizontal supports necessary to assemble a completed shelving unit are packaged together for ultimate purchase by the end user. Boltless SSU may also come packaged as partially assembled, such as when two upright supports are welded together with front-to-back supports, or are otherwise connected, to form an end unit for the frame.

The petition covers Boltless SSU with or without the shelves that sit on or fit into the horizontal supports to provide the horizontal storage surface of the shelving unit.

The petition also covers add-on kits that allow the end user to add an extension shelving unit on to an existing boltless steel shelving unit so that the extension and the original unit will share common frame elements.

The petition covers all Boltless SSU meeting the description above, regardless of (1) vertical support type; (2) horizontal support profile; (3) number of supports; (4) surface coating; (5) number of levels; (6) weight capacity; (7) shape; (8) shelf material; (9) the boltless method by which vertical and horizontal supports connect; or (10) incidental use of nuts and bolts, or screws to add accessories, wall anchors, tie-bars or shelf supports.

The Boltless SSU covered by the petition may be commonly described as rivet shelving, welded frame shelving, slot and tab shelving and punched rivet (quasi-rivet) shelving as well as by other trade names.

The petition does not cover (1) wall-mounted shelving that does not stand on or transfer load to the floor; (2) shelving units with shelves that incorporate both a wire deck and wire horizontal supports (taking the place of horizontal beams and braces) into a single piece with tubular collars that slide over the posts and onto plastic sleeves snapped onto the posts; (3) bulk-packed parts or components of Boltless SSU and (4) made-to-order shelving systems.

The products covered by the petition are provided for under subheading 9403.20.0075 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

The total value of US imports of Boltless SSU from the subject countries was $147.5 million in 2022.

Foreign producers and US importers of Boltless SSU

The petition identifies 16 exporters and 65 US importers of Boltless SSU from the subject countries.  See the lists of foreign producers and US importers from the petition.

Estimated Schedule of the Investigations

AD proceedings are conducted pursuant to a strict statutory time schedule. Below is an estimated schedule for the AD investigations on Boltless SSU from the subject countries.

4/25/2023 – Petition filed

6/9/2023 – ITC preliminary injury determination

10/2/2023 – DOC preliminary AD determinations, if not postponed

11/21/2023 – DOC preliminary AD determinations, if fully postponed

4/11/2024 – DOC final AD determinations, if both preliminary and final determinations are fully postponed

5/27/2024 – ITC final injury determination, if DOC determinations are fully postponed

6/3/2024 – AD orders published

Consequences for exporters and US companies

US AD investigations can result in the imposition of substantial duties in addition to already-applicable duties and tariffs. If the ITC and DOC make affirmative preliminary determinations, US importers will be required to post cash deposits corresponding to the ad valorem AD duty rates determined for the subject merchandise on or after the date on which the DOC’s preliminary determination is published in the Federal Register. In certain circumstances, such duty deposit requirements may retroactively go into effect 90 days prior to the date of publication. The AD duties will remain in effect if the DOC and ITC make affirmative final determinations.

The DOC calculates specific AD margins for certain individual foreign producers and exporters selected for examination. Such rates are often much lower than those alleged in the petition. However, foreign producers and exporters that do not participate in the investigations may be subject to substantially higher rates. Duties imposed at these higher rates may force exporters to stop shipping to the US and importers to cease importation of subject merchandise. Thus, interested parties – including US and foreign producers, exporters, importers and downstream US purchasers of the subject merchandise – are encouraged to have a strategy for addressing AD investigations, including possible participation.

Under the statutory time schedule for AD investigations, the first decision (ie, the preliminary ITC determination of whether there is a reasonable indication that the US industry is materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by reason of the subject imports) must be made within 45 days after the filing of the petition – in this case, by June 9, 2023. An ITC hearing (ie, a public conference) is held around 21 to 23 days after the filing date.

As a result, agency staff work, including the issuance of questionnaires to interested parties, begins almost immediately. Thus, quick action is encouraged to understand the specific implications of these developments as well as to prepare and implement a pertinent strategy.

To learn more, please contact any of the authors.