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Minebea Co. v. United States

Decided: January 26, 1993.

MINEBEA CO., LTD. AND NMB CORPORATION, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
THE UNITED STATES, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE, AND THE TORRINGTON COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appealed from: U.S. Court of International Trade. Judge Tsoucalas

Before Archer, Michel, and Lourie, Circuit Judges.

Lourie

LAURIE, Circuit Judge.

Minebea Co., Ltd. and NMB Corporation (collectively Minebea) appeal from the judgment of the United States Court of International Trade upholding an antidumping duty order covering, inter alia, spherical plain bearings from Japan. Specifically, Minebea challenges the trial court's decision to sustain the determination of the Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA), that The Torrington Company had standing to file an antidumping duty petition on behalf of the domestic manufacturers of spherical plain bearings. Minebea Co. v. United States, 782 F. Supp. 117. Because the determination of the ITA was supported by substantial evidence on the record and was otherwise in accordance with law, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

On March 31, 1988, Torrington filed a petition with the ITA requesting that the ITA investigate whether to impose antidumping duties on antifriction bearings, including spherical plain bearings produced and imported by Minebea from Japan. Pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1673a(b)(1) (1988), Torrington alleged that it was an interested party and that it was filing the petition on behalf of the domestic antifriction bearing industry. The ITA initiated an antidumping investigation on the basis of Torrington's petition.

During the course of the investigation, the ITA received a number of submissions from parties challenging Torrington's standing to file its petition on the ground that it did not file "on behalf of" the domestic industry as required by 19 U.S.C. § 1673a(b)(1). New Hampshire Ball Bearings (NHBB), a U.S. subsidiary of Minebea, was one of the domestic manufacturers of spherical plain bearings that challenged Torrington's standing.

The ITA adhered to its policy of presuming standing unless a majority of the domestic industry affirmatively opposed the petition. See Antifriction Bearings from Japan, 53 Fed. Reg. 45,344 (Dep't Comm. 1988) (Preliminary Determination). In order to evaluate whether the opposition constituted a majority of the domestic industry, the ITA issued questionnaires to the parties challenging Torrington's standing. The questionnaires requested, among other things, that each party provide an estimate of its "percentage share of the U.S. market as it relates to the domestic production of antifriction bearings" and an estimate of its "percentage share of the U.S. market as it relates to the sale of antifriction bearings" for the various classes and kinds of bearings subject to the antidumping investigation.

Of the opposing parties responding to the questionnaires, NHBB was the only one to provide any information regarding spherical plain bearings production. NHBB reported its total domestic production of spherical plain bearings; it did not provide an estimate of the total U.S. production of spherical plain bearings or its percentage of such production. The information provided by NHBB was not deemed sufficient by the ITA to establish that a majority of the domestic industry opposed the petition. See Antifriction Bearings from Japan, 54 Fed. Reg. 19005 (Dep't Comm. 1989) (Final Determination).

The ITA subsequently published its antidumping duty order covering, inter alia, spherical plain bearings from Japan. 54 Fed. Reg. 20904 (1989). Minebea appealed to the Court of International Trade challenging the ITA's determination that Torrington's antidumping duty petition was filed "on behalf of" the domestic spherical plain bearings industry. That court affirmed.

On appeal to this court, Minebea requests that the decision of the Court of International Trade be reversed and the antidumping duty order vacated on the ground that the ITA's standing determination was not supported by substantial evidence.

Discussion

We review decisions of the Court of International Trade by applying a statutory standard of review to the underlying ITA determination. See Atlantic Sugar, Ltd. v. United States, 744 F.2d 1556, 1559 n.10, 2 Fed. Cir. (T) 130, 133 n.10 (Fed. Cir. 1984). We must determine whether that court correctly concluded that the ITA's standing determination was supported by substantial evidence on the record and was otherwise in accordance with law. 19 U.S.C. § 1516a(b)(1)(B) (1988); U.H.F.C. Co. v. United States, 916 F.2d 689, 696 (Fed. Cir. 1990).

This court has previously recognized that the ITA has considerable discretion in determining whether to initiate or maintain an antidumping investigation. In Suramerica de Aleaciones Laminadas, C.A. v. United States, 966 F.2d 660 (Fed. Cir. 1992), we held that the ITA had broad discretion to decide whether to initiate an investigation based on a petition filed on behalf of an industry without necessarily determining that it was affirmatively supported by a majority of the domestic industry. In Suramerica, we concluded that the ITA's policy of presuming standing unless a majority of the domestic industry actively opposes the petition falls within the range of permissible construction of the ...


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