On remand, Commerce identified numerous inconsistencies and instances of incomplete responses in the material initially submitted by Grobest. The agency issued questionnaires seeking clarification regarding the company’s prior submissions. Yet Grobest thereafter refused to respond to these inquiries, refused to further participate in the review in any respect, and insisted that Commerce terminate the proceeding. This demand was opposed by the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (“AHSTAC”), an association of domestic producers of warmwater shrimp represented by PKR, who argued that the CIT ruling and other applicable legal requirements necessitated the review. Commerce agreed with AHSTAC and, in response to the exporter’s non-cooperation, applied statutory “adverse facts available” to assign Grobest the 25.76% margin.
In the wake of Grobest’s challenge, Commerce’s discretion to select or not select voluntary respondents has been significantly strengthened. Legislation enacted last month provides Commerce with express and substantial statutory discretion to decline reviews of those requesting voluntary respondent status.
Thus, by successfully challenging Commerce’s discretion as to whether to accept voluntary respondents in administrative reviews, Grobest set in motion both: (1) a reconducted administrative proceeding wherein the antidumping duty liquidation rate applied to its entries between February 1, 2008 and January 31, 2009 increased from 3.92% to 25.76%; and (2) legislative action to strengthen the agency’s discretion as to when to accept or not accept voluntary respondents in administrative reviews.