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Stelfast Inc.

Cleveland, OH

Overview

At the conclusion of an antidumping duty administrative review concerning steel-threaded rods imported from China, Stelfast Inc., a family owned and operated manufacturer and distributor of fasteners and specialty parts, unexpectedly received bills from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) amounting to approximately $200 million. Faced with these enterprise-threatening duties, Stelfast turned to Husch Blackwell to find a solution.

Challenges

The processes surrounding administrative reviews of antidumping and countervailing duty orders by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the collection of duties by Customs can be labyrinthine and difficult to navigate, even under the best of circumstances when the process is mistake-free. When mistakes do occur, the challenges involved in uncovering the error and righting a wrong can be daunting for middle-market companies with fewer resources targeted at regulatory compliance.

Solution

After being engaged to represent Stelfast, the Husch Blackwell international trade team, led by Nithya Nagarajan, quickly identified the source of the problem—a programming error in the instructions that were sent to Customs from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Once the nature of the error was discovered, our team set forth a strategy to rectify the situation as quickly as possible. We contacted Commerce and worked closely with them at each step to ensure the matter was handled properly and resolved within 30 days.

Result

After carefully laying out the source and nature of the error to government officials, the error was corrected, and at the end of the process the client received a bill for the proper amount of duties owed, which were but a small fraction of the initial demand.

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