The U.S. Department of Commerce today published its determination that Hilltop International, an exporter of Chinese shrimp subject to the antidumping duty order, is not the successor-in-interest of Yelin Enterprise Co. – reversing a 2007 determination. Commerce did so based on its finding in the 2011-12 administrative review that Hilltop failed to disclose its Cambodian affiliate. The Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC), an association of domestic frozen warmwater shrimp represented by PKR, submitted evidence in that review suggesting import fraud through transshipment of shrimp that Hilltop refused to explain and prompted Commerce to identify the misrepresentation regarding affiliates. Commerce emphasized its “inherent authority to cleanse its proceedings of potential fraud.” The agency further found that Hilltop failed to explain how its U.S. importer sourced an amount of shrimp from Cambodia well in excess of that produced by the country, let alone address the apparent transshipment. Commerce concluded that Hilltop “boldly presented false information regarding its corporate structure to Department officials” during verification in an earlier administrative review.
Hilltop may appeal to the U.S. Court of International Trade, where AHSTAC’s evidence is already the basis of four separate lawsuits. Nevertheless, Commerce has positively established a lack of tolerance for misconduct in its proceedings. The integrity of our trade remedy laws deserves nothing less.