The United States took another step this week to turn up the heat on companies who evade antidumping and countervailing duties, by asking a World Trade Organization committee to investigate the growing problem of antidumping duty “evasion services.”

In a March 16 submission to the WTO Committee on Anti-Dumping Practices Informal Group on Anti-Circumvention, the United States highlighted what it called “a dramatic increase in activities expressly designed to evade the application of antidumping duties.” The United States detailed a “proliferation of evasion services,” and listed several of the practices that are occurring, such as:

• Reloading of goods subject to duties in third countries
• Creation of false invoicing, packing lists, and other documents

In the view of the United States, “{t}his problem has been going on for many years. However, it has become more pervasive and the parties have become more brazen in their activities.” Such evasion, the United States said, “undermine{s} the effectiveness” of WTO agreements and “erode{s} confidence in the rules-based multilateral trading system.”

The United States concluded by calling for a WTO discussion on the topic and a “sharing of member’s experiences and practices.”

Notably, the WTO submission cited a key 2010 report by Senator Ron Wyden, in which the Senator’s legislative office set up an importing office and conducted a “sting” operation to identify companies willing to engage in duty evasion services. In a short period of time, the Senate investigation found numerous companies willing to break the law in order to help companies evade AD and CVD duties.

This report and investigation led to the “Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion Act (ENFORCE),” S. 3524 (112th Congress), which was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on a bipartisan basis. Supporters of the ENFORCE Act are pushing for it to be included in any legislation to approve trade promotion authority (TPA) or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.