The Office of the Chief Counsel for Trade Enforcement and Compliance provides legal support to the International Trade Administration, specifically the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, in connection with the administration of the laws regulating unfairly-traded imports into the United States, primarily the antidumping law (which deals with exports to the United States priced below their price in the home market or below their cost of production) and the countervailing duty law (which deals with exports to the United States from foreign industries that receive government subsidies). The office is headed by the Chief Counsel, who is assisted by the Deputy Chief Counsel. The office consists of 6 senior counsels, 20 staff attorneys, one paralegal, one administrative assistant, and frequently one or more law clerks.
The office's work may be divided into three general areas: administrative advice; litigation; and trade agreements.
The office reviews all substantial administrative determinations under the antidumping and countervailing duty laws. This review involves working closely with Enforcement and Compliance as administrative proceedings progress, in order to ensure that the ultimate decisions are defensible under U.S. law and our international obligations, consistent with prior practice, and do not negatively impact related trade negotiations.
The office plays a critical role in defending antidumping and countervailing duty determinations before both U.S. courts and international panels. Most frequently, the office works with the Department of Justice to defend actions in the U.S. Court of International Trade and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The office also works with the United States Trade Representative to defend antidumping and countervailing duty determinations against challenges before dispute settlement panels in the World Trade Organization. Finally, the office has sole litigating authority to defend antidumping and countervailing duty determinations before bi-national panels under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The office works closely with Enforcement and Compliance in the negotiation and implementation of a broad range of multilateral and bilateral agreements relating to government subsidization and private unfair pricing practices. These agreements include the WTO Antidumping Agreement and the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, NAFTA, and other free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition, a variety of bilateral agreements have arisen from specific antidumping and countervailing duty cases. These include agreements on uranium and steel from Russia, lumber from Canada, and cement and tomatoes from Mexico.
In addition to these areas, the office also provides legal support in connection with proposed legislation or regulations affecting any of the statutes overseen by Enforcement and Compliance; and in connection with administration of the Foreign-Trade Zones program.
The office has defended a number of high profile cases in recent years. In 2008-2009, the office worked on the defense of a determination by Enforcement and Compliance (then “Import Administration”) concerning the importation of uranium from France before the United States Supreme Court. In United States v. Eurodif, 129 S. Ct. 878 (2009), the Court issued a unanimous decision upholding the agency’s decision. Additionally, the office has litigated the simultaneous application of anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws to imports from the People’s Republic of China before both U.S. courts and the World Trade Organization, and was instrumental in securing legislation in 2012 that overturned a decision by the Federal Circuit, GPX Int’l Tire Corp. v. United States, 666 F.3d 732 (Fed. Cir. 2011), that the countervailing duty law could not be applied to China.