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18 January 20225 minute read

New antidumping and countervailing duty petition: Sodium nitrite from India and Russia – consequences for industry and downstream consumers

On January 13, 2022, Chemtrade Chemicals US LLC filed a petition with the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that sodium nitrite from India and Russia is being sold in the US at less than fair value.  The petition also alleges that the governments of India and Russia are providing unfair subsidies to their producers and exporters of sodium nitrite to the US. 

Sodium nitrite is used in the production of chemicals and dyes including azo, food, and textile dyes.   It is also used by the metal industry for coating, detinning, plating, and corrosion inhibition; and by the rubber industry in synthetic rubber and blowing compounds. In addition, sodium nitrite is used in heat transfer salts, in wastewater treatment to control odor and to inhibit the growth of bacteria, and in meat curing as a food preservative. In the medical field, sodium nitrite is an antidote to cyanide poisoning.  Sodium nitrite is also used in ammunition, explosives, and other military applications.

The petitioner seeks the imposition of antidumping (AD) duties on imports of sodium nitrite from India and Russia, alleging dumping margins ranging from 60.3 percent to 75.1 percent for India and from 187.8 percent to 265.5 percent for Russia.  The petitioner also seeks the imposition of countervailing (CVD) duties on imports of sodium nitrite from India and Russia, alleging an unspecified total level of subsidies of at least 1 percent for both countries.

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). A domestic industry may also seek a CVD investigation into alleged subsidization of foreign producers or exporters by a foreign government. AD/CVD duties may be imposed if the DOC determines that imported goods are dumped and/or unfairly subsidized 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 sodium nitrite, in any form and at any purity level.  Sodium nitrite’s chemical composition is NaNO2.  Sodium nitrite may or may not contain an anti-caking agent.  Examples of names commonly used to reference sodium nitrite are nitrous acid, sodium salt, anti-rust, diazotizing salts, erinitrit, and filmerine.   The American Chemical Society Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) has assigned the name “sodium nitrite” to sodium nitrite. The CAS registry number is 7632-00-0.

Sodium nitrite is currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States under subheading 2834.10.10.00. 

The total value of imports of sodium nitrite from India and Russia was $4.5 million in 2020.

Foreign producers and US importers of sodium nitrite

The petition identifies 12 exporters and 28 US importers of sodium nitrite from India and Russia.  See the lists of exporters and US importers from the petition.

Estimated schedule of investigations

AD and CVD proceedings are conducted pursuant to a strict statutory time schedule. Below is an estimated schedule for the AD and CVD investigations on sodium nitrite from India and Russia.

1/13/2022 – Petition filed

2/28/2022 – ITC preliminary injury determination

4/8/2022 – DOC preliminary CVD determinations, if not postponed

6/13/2022 – DOC preliminary CVD determinations, if fully postponed

6/22/2022 – DOC preliminary AD determinations, if not postponed

8/11/2022 – DOC preliminary AD determinations, if fully postponed

1/2/2023 – DOC final AD and CVD determinations, if both preliminary and final determinations are fully postponed

2/14/2023 – ITC final injury determination, if DOC determinations are fully postponed

2/21/2023 – AD and CVD orders published

Consequences for exporters and US companies

US AD and CVD 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 and/or CVD 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 and CVD duties will remain in effect if the DOC and ITC make affirmative final determinations.

The DOC calculates specific AD and CVD 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 – should have a strategy for addressing AD and CVD investigations, including possible participation.

Under the statutory time schedule for AD and CVD investigations, the first decision (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 February 28, 2022. 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.