White & Case Successfully Defends Against an Unprecedented Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) Investigation on Behalf of CIMC Intermodal Equipment (CIE)

Press Release
2 min read

Global law firm White & Case LLP successfully defended CIMC Intermodal Equipment, LLC (CIE) (dba CIE Manufacturing) in Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) Investigation 7810 conducted by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – an EAPA case involving unprecedented circumstances. In its determination, CBP found that CIE, a US manufacturer of container chassis using chassis frames sourced from an affiliate in Thailand, did not engage in evasion of the US antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on chassis and subassemblies thereof from China. As a result, AD/CVD will not be imposed on CIE's prior or future imports of chassis frames from Thailand.

In the final determination, released on May 1, CBP said, "based on the totality of the record of this investigation, which is inclusive of CIE's RFI responses, onsite verification at DS Manufacturing's facilities based in Thailand, and written arguments, CBP concludes substantial evidence does not exist to determine that CIE entered covered merchandise into the customs territory of the United States through evasion."

This decision follows a prior EAPA case in which CIE filed the allegation against a US producer that itself was a petitioner for the AD/CVD proceedings that resulted in the AD/CVD orders on chassis from China (EAPA Investigation 7711). EAPA is an anti-evasion customs law that oftentimes targets third-country exporters to the US that are affiliated with foreign companies subject to AD/CVD measures.

It's unprecedented for a company on the side of a foreign respondent to bring an EAPA allegation against a US petitioner. White & Case prepared and filed the EAPA allegation against the US producer and importer of chassis, which CIE had reason to suspect evaded AD/CVD by importing chassis completed in Vietnam using Chinese-origin chassis components. In what has to be the first use of an EAPA investigation against a US petitioner, CBP issued an affirmative final EAPA determination on May 23, 2023, breaking new ground.

While CBP's EAPA investigation against the US producer was ongoing, the US petitioner filed an "evasion" allegation against CIE, claiming that CIE imports Chinese-origin chassis that are "transshipped" through Thailand (EAPA Investigation 7810). In mounting a vigorous defense of CIE, the White & Case team successfully guided the client through an intense onsite verification conducted by CBP at the foreign manufacturer's production facility in Thailand; and prepared and submitted robust case and rebuttal briefs. The year-long investigation ended in a negative determination.

The White & Case team was led by partner Jay Campbell (Washington, DC) and included associates Lin Li (Shanghai), Cristina Cornejo (Washington, DC) and Senior Trade Analyst Chunfu Yan (Washington, DC).

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