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 approximately 40 people, including the Chief Counsel, Deputy Chief Counsel, Assistant Chief Counsels, staff attorneys, and administrative assistants. Additionally, typically two or more law clerks intern with CCTEC at any given time.
The office's work may be divided into four general areas: administrative advice; litigation; legislation and regulations; and trade agreements.
The office reviews all of Commerce’s administrative determinations under the antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) laws. With more than 600 AD/CVD orders in effect, 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. Administrative advice is also provided with respect to the steel and aluminum import monitoring programs, the U.S Foreign Trade Zones Board, and the International Trade Administration’s role in the steel and aluminum product exclusion process pursuant to section 232 of Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
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 Unites States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (and its predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement).
Legislation and Regulations
CCTEC also provides legal support in connection with proposed legislation or regulations affecting any of the statutes administered by Enforcement and Compliance and in connection with import monitoring and administration of the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program.
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, USMCA, and other free trade agreements. 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 sugar and tomatoes from Mexico.
The office has defended the agency in a number of high-profile cases. 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, in 2021, the office successfully defended before the Federal Circuit the 2020 amendments to the agreements suspending the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on sugar from Mexico in CSC Sugar LLC .v. United States, 2021 WL 3027997 (Fed. Cir. 2021) as well as key aspects of Enforcement and Compliance‘s nonmarket economy antidumping duty methodologies in China Manufacturers Alliance, LLC v. United States, 1 F.4th 1028 (Fed. Cir. 2021). More recently, CCTEC drafted significant rulemakings covering currency undervaluation, steel and aluminum import monitoring systems, and a variety of trade enforcement initiatives, among others.