The U.S. International Trade Commission has accepted a Section 337 petition filed by the U.S. Steel Corporation that at a minimum seeks a ban on steel imports from China’s largest forty producers due to illegal competition via theft of trade secrets, price fixing and false designation of origin.
[Daily News| May 26, 2016 |Inside US Trade]
The ITC announced on Thursday (May 26) that it will launch an investigation into all aspects of the complaint, which observers said was unusually broad. U.S. Steel filed the petition on April 26, seeking a general exclusion order blocking all Chinese carbon and alloy steel products from the U.S. market, a limited exclusion order blocking imports from the 40 listed steel companies, and a cease and desist order for their illegal practices.
The announcement includes the 40 Chinese steel companies that U.S. Steel cited as respondents, and one observer said it will be interesting to see how much the companies will participate in the investigation and what documents they will provide during the discovery period to prove they are not engaged in the practices that they are accused of.
An attorney familiar with Section 337 cases said the announcement makes clear that ITC will take up each of the three key complaints raised by U.S. Steel. Those are a conspiracy to fix prices and control output and export volumes in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act; the misappropriation and use of U.S. Steel’s trade secrets regarding the production of advanced high strength steel; and the false designation of origin or manufacturer in violation of the Lanham Act.