Late last month, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary ruling that importers of large newspaper presses from two German and two Japanese manufacturers were selling or likely to sell the presses for less than fair value or below the cost of production.
The finding supports the position taken by Rockwell Graphic Systems in its June 30,1995 antidumping petition. Acting on that petition, the U.S. International Trade Commission last August found "reasonable indication" of injury or threat of injury to a U.S. industry as a result of the sale of imported presses (E&P, July 29, p. 26; Sept. 9, P. 13).
The Commerce Dept. is expected to issue a final determination of dumping margins by early July (the German and Japanese manufacturers all asked for and were granted 60-day extensions to the normal schedule for a final determination). Thereafter, the matter again goes before the ITC for confirmation, within 45 days, of material injury or the threat of such harm to the U.S. industry. In this investigation, the industry consists solely of the Graphic Systems Division of Rockwell International.
While the final determinations of the ITC and the Commerce Dept. may not reflect their preliminary findings, members of the former, an independent federal agency, were unanimous in finding indication of injury, and the latter already has assigned estimated dumping duties to the press makers named in the Rockwell petition.
For imported new double-wide offset, letterpress and flexo presses, and for components other than spare and replacement parts, the Commerce Dept. put into immediate effect duties of 58.14% on Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, 47.57% on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, 46.40% on Koenig & Bauer-Albert and 17.17% on MAN Roland Drucks-maschinen.
Last year, Rockwell Graphic Systems said that after observing its competitors' practices for some time, the sale price of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries presses to the Washington Post (E&P, June 24, p. 10) led to its decision to file an antidumping petition.
The Washington Post Co., however, will receive its presses for the contracted price because, said its government affairs vice president, Carol D. Melamed, the importer of record - in this case, a Mitsubishi affiliate - must pay any dumping duties.
Immediately after the determination was made public on Feb. 26, MAN Roland Inc., based in Groton, Conn., issued a statement saying that "it remains confident that the agency's ongoing examination will find substantiation for reversal of this preliminary decision."
Helgi Schmidt-Liermann, CEO of MAN's North American Web Press Division, said that while initial imposition of some duty had always been expected, his company believes that "a fair and reasonable" examination of its sales will show that MAN did not dump its presses.
The preliminary determination, Schmidt-Liermann added, will neither require MAN customers to pay the duties imposed nor "inhibit the company from continuing to compete vigorously in the U.S. market at fair prices."
Mitsubishi's relatively light assessment may be partly attributable to the fact that of all the press makers involved, it has the fewest installations, with most not falling into the period under investigation.
Also, the determination is notable for its failure to review the transaction with the Post. The Commerce Dept. gave the following reasons for excluding the huge order from its analysis: the press has not been built and is not slated to ship until next year; relevant benchmarking information was unavailable; sales of other presses already delivered and installed were available for analysis.
Though it excluded the sale to the Post, the department investigated the period between July 1, 1991 and June 30,1995. For TKS, the period under review commenced July 1, 1992; for MAN, the study looked back only to July 1, 1993. Though it normally only looks at one year, the department extended the periods of investigation to capture enough information from an industry characterized by a relatively small number of sales of custom-configured presses with long-term sales contracts. …