WASHINGTON — The partial federal government shutdown that began Dec. 22 has forced the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) to suspend operations until further notice — including a Jan. 8 hearing on potential antidumping and countervailing duties against steel truck wheels imported from China.
The hearing is still listed in the daily calendar section on the International Trade Commission's website, but the agency ceased operations when its appropriations lapsed in the dispute between President Trump and Congress over whether to appropriate $5.6 billion to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
The steel wheel investigation is based on petitions filed with the ITC on March 27, 2018 by Accuride Corp. of Evansville, Ind., and Maxion Wheels Akron L.L.C. of Akron, Ohio.
According to the ITC notice scheduling the final phase of the investigation, the probe involves "certain on-the-road steel wheels, discs, and rims for tubeless tires, with a nominal rim diameter of 22.5 includes and 24.5 inches, regardless of width."
Accuride and Maxion requested antidumping and countervailing duty relief under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act.
In August, the U.S. Department of Commerce levied preliminary countervailing duties ranging from 48.75 to 172.51 percent against Chinese steel wheel importers. In November, Commerce found a preliminary antidumping duty margin of 231.7 percent. In both cases, the agency instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits in those amounts from Chinese steel wheel importers.
Commerce was scheduled to issue final antidumping and countervailing duties against the Chinese imports on or about Jan. 8, the same date as the ITC hearing. However, the trade functions of Commerce also were suspended because of the shutdown.
President Trump and congressional negotiators were still far apart on Jan. 7 as to an agreement on funding border security. Among the alternatives being discussed by the Trump administration was an emergency order to fund building of a border wall.