Academic journal article American University Law Review

2012 International Trade Law Decisions of the Federal Circuit

Academic journal article American University Law Review

2012 International Trade Law Decisions of the Federal Circuit

Article excerpt


When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was established by the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 19821 it was vested with the former jurisdiction of its predecessor courts, the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the appellate function of the U.S. Court of Claims, as well as exclusive jurisdiction to hear appeals from the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC or Commission).2 The Federal Circuit's jurisdiction3 differs significantly from its twelve sister circuit courts in that it derives exclusively from statutory subject matter jurisdiction.4 Because the court's exclusive subject matter jurisdiction eliminates the possibility of a circuit split, international trade holdings of the Federal Circuit are infrequently reviewed by the Supreme Court, rendering the Federal Circuit the court of final appeal for most trade cases.5

This Article reviews cases decided by the Federal Circuit, on appeal from the CIT or ITC, during 2012. Though not the busiest docket the Federal Circuit has contended with in recent years in terms of international trade cases, 2012 still saw at least one statutory reversal of a landmark decision.6 Other precedential decisions included five trade remedy appeals from the CIT, six customs appeals, also from the CIT, and four reviews of the ITC's section 337 determinations. Among the trade remedy cases, the Federal Circuit addressed two scope rulings,7 two appeals for relief under the Byrd Amendment,8 one request to overturn a constructed value determination rendered by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce),9 and one countervailable subsidy determination.10 Customs cases included two requests for refund of import taxes,11 one appeal of a customs classification ruling,12 two requests to compel U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs or CBP) to liquidate entries,13 and one denial-with an accompanying dissent-of a request to compel liquidation.14 The patent-heavy section 337 determinations appealed from the ITC included cases concerning printer ink cartridges,15 wind power turbines,16 cellular telephone technology,17 and integrated circuit devices.18

The Article proceeds in three Parts, each containing a brief introduction to the statutory and procedural framework of the cases reviewed. Part I introduces antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) laws and the administrative agencies that implement them. Part II lays out the general context of section 337 proceedings undertaken by the ITC. Part III sets forth the general framework of the customs laws and CBP's administration of those laws.


The AD and CVD laws attempt to provide domestic U.S. industries a remedy for so-called unfair trade practices.19 Investigations under these laws are undertaken simultaneously at Commerce and the ITC.20 Commerce is responsible for determining whether dumping or subsidization took place, while the ITC determines whether a domestic industry has been injured (or threatened with injury) by imports.21

A. GPX International Tire Corp. v. United States

In GPX International Tire Corp. v. United States,22 the Federal Circuit addressed claims raised in the wake of the March 2012 enactment of Public Law 112-99,23 whose section 1 confirmed the applicability of the CVD law to products originating in countries classified for antidumping purposes as nonmarket economies (NMEs).24 The Federal Circuit had previously sided with GPX in holding that the CVD law could not be applied to NME products,25 but Public Law 112-99 prevented the Federal Circuit from finalizing a decision (issuing a mandate) on that basis and brought the matter back in front of the court.

Public Law 112-99 took out of play the claim that imposing CVD relief on products GPX imported from China was automatically unlawful.26 Remaining for the Federal Circuit to address were GPX's claims that (1) the CVD measure should still be voided because the retroactive element of Public Law 112-99, reaching existing cases and orders like the one on pneumatic tires, was unconstitutional; and (2) GPX was at least entitled to a recalculated (lower) total duty because domestic subsidies identified by Commerce had been double counted. …

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