Hidden Agenda: The Expansion of Product Scope in International Trade Proceedings

Part II of this Article examines current legal standards. It concludes that U.S. product scope rulings are nominally made pursuant to a set of objective legal/factual standards, but that because of the breadth of these standards, the Commerce Department has considerable discretion in making such decisions. Part III examines recent Commerce Department product scope rulings, which highlights a policy goal of prevention of evasion by foreign suppliers. The Department, which technically has no authority to expand the product scope and no formal authority to consider evasion, is uncomfortable with this current situation. This has caused the Administration to propose amendments to the U.S. trade laws to address the problem, but these amendments are unlikely to eliminate the problem. Part IV of this Article examines certain unfair results caused by the procedures used in product scope rulings by the Department. It concludes that the Department could take steps to reduce substantially such unfair results while still maintaining its ability to assure effective enforcement of the antidumping and countervail sanctions.