CIT Rejects Commerce Scope
Determination on Aluminum Extrusions

September 6, 2017

In a decision issued September 1, 2017, the Court of International Trade (CIT) granted a motion by Agilent Technologies that challenged a scope determination by the Department of Commerce that certain extruded aluminum components described as mass filter radiators or “MFRs” for one of its bio-analytical measurement instruments was within the scope of the antidumping and countervailing duty orders on Aluminum Extrusions from China (the “Orders”). 

While accepting Commerce’s determination that the MFR was covered by the plain language of the Orders, the court agreed with Agilent that the Commerce failed to adequately explain its reasoning why the MFR did not fall within the exception provided in the Orders for “Finished Heat Sinks,” noting that “Commerce’s cursory explanation failed to address the considerable amount of evidence submitted by Agilent to show that the MFR” met the criteria of a “Finished Heat Sink,” as provided for in the Orders. The court further found that “Commerce’s scope ruling did not adequately discuss the record evidence submitted in support of Agilent’s position, including the R&D Declaration and questionnaire responses,” and “why the description of thermal performance requirements contained in Agilent’s submissions, including the explanations in the R&D Declaration, were insufficient to satisfy the thermal performance test” of the finished heat sink exclusion.

The court also questioned the lack of justification by Commerce in disregarding the information in the R&D Declaration simply because the document was not created contemporaneously with the development of the MFR, noting that “the Department failed to cite any relevant authority to support its position that the information contained in a recently created document was inadequate or inherently unreliable.” The court was not convinced that it was reasonable for Commerce to ignore a sworn declaration merely because it was written years after the product was designed, concluding that Commerce did not adequately discuss the record evidence that, on its face, provided support for Agilent’s position. In accordance with its statutory obligation, the court ordered the case remanded back to Commerce so that it could fully address the evidence on the record relating to the applicability of the finished heat sink exclusion.

According to lead counsel representing Agilent before the CIT, firm attorney George Tuttle, III, the case illustrates the CIT’s willingness to not simply rubber-stamp decisions by Commerce, but to require such decisions be supported by substantial evidence, taking into account all of the arguments and information presented before it in the administrative record.

For further information or questions about this or other customs issues, please contact George Tuttle, III, at or 415-986-8780.


George R. Tuttle, III is an attorney with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The information in this article is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.

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