In August and October 2019, the European Commission successively initiated an application filed by the European Iron and Steel Association on behalf of the EU steel industry for an anti-dumping and countervailing investigation in to hot-rolled stainless steel coils originating in Indonesia, China and Taiwan. JunHe represented PT Indonesia Guang Ching Nickel and Stainless Steel Industry under Tsingshan Holdings Group and PT Indonesia Tsingshan Stainless Steel Industry. JunHe’s team assisted in the process of the anti-dumping investigation, going through numerous replies to questionnaires and supplementary questionnaires, undertaking damage defense and on-the-spot investigations, and finally assisted their clients in obtaining a final ruling tax rate of 17.3%. The team also assisted in the countervailing investigation procedures. After assisting in the process of the questionnaire and the replenishment questionnaire, the damage defense and the online remote verification, the applicant withdrew the application for the countervailing investigation and the European Commission closed the case without imposing a tax. JunHe ultimately helped the client win the final victory in the countervailing investigation.
Tsingshan Holding Group is one of the largest stainless steel enterprises in China and the world. Indonesia Guangqing Nickel Industry Co., Ltd. and Indonesia Tsingshan Stainless Steel Co., Ltd. are important achievements in China-Indonesia cooperation in following the pace of national globalization and also of implementing the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
JunHe demonstrated a deep understanding of the WTO and the EU's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws and regulations and was proficient in handling the financial challenges, ultimately providing the best solution for their valued clients.
Some factors in the complexity and particularity of the Project were:
1. In past anti-dumping and countervailing cases, Chinese lawyers have generally represented Chinese clients in responding to foreign investigations by the Ministry of Commerce. In this case, JunHe's Chinese legal team represented Indonesian companies in an EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation, reflecting the trend of Chinese companies going global. Chinese lawyers are also now beginning to provide legal services on a broader stage across various borders and jurisdictions, reflecting the growth and progress of Chinese lawyers and Chinese legal services. This case involved Chinese lawyers representing overseas enterprises (Indonesia) in an anti-dumping and countervailing investigation conducted by a third jurisdiction (EU) and involved EU law, Indonesian law and International Law (WTO), which can certainly be deemed a representative case of Chinese lawyers "going global".
2. The EU anti-dumping and countervailing investigations were carried out almost at the same time. Based on their rich experience in organizing large companies, JunHe’s team assisted the clients in completing the answer sheets smoothly under very strict time requirements. The countervailing investigation involved the retrieval and research of Indonesian company laws, tax laws, industrial land management regulations and other legal provisions. JunHe’s team overcame language barriers, completed the relevant answer sheets and other defense work. The countervailing investigation coincided with the swift outbreak of COVID-19 around the world, and the JunHe team helped their clients through the European Commission's remote inspection in a very difficult environment.
3. The targets of countervailing investigations are usually government subsidies of firms in the country under investigation. But this case reflected an attempt by the European Union to extend the tentacles of countervailing investigations to the Chinese government through the overseas subsidiaries of Chinese companies. Does the EU have the right to investigate the subsidies granted by the Chinese government to Chinese-funded enterprises in Indonesia during a countervailing investigation against Indonesia? JunHe and its co-operating team of EU lawyers argued that this kind of so-called "subsidy" investigation by the EU lacked a legal basis and violated WTO countervailing rules. Finally, the countervailing investigation ended with the petitioner withdrawing the petition. The success of JunHe’s team in dealing with this complex and innovative legal issue is of great significance to the development of international law in the future.