The USITC and the U.S. Department of Commerce are responsible for conducting antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) (subsidy) investigations and five-year (sunset) reviews under Title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930. Under this law, U.S. industries may petition the USITC and Commerce for relief from imports that are sold in the United States at less than fair value ("dumped") or that benefit from countervailable subsidies provided through foreign government programs ("subsidized"). Dumping and certain subsidizing are considered unfair trade practices.
The USITC and the U.S. Department of Commerce both have roles in these investigations, but each addresses a different question. Commerce determines whether the alleged dumping or subsidizing is happening, and if so, the margin of dumping or amount of subsidy. The USITC determines whether the U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of the imports under investigation. If both Commerce and the USITC reach affirmative final determinations on their individual questions, then Commerce will issue an antidumping duty order to offset the dumping or a countervailing duty order to offset the subsidy.
The Department of Commerce must revoke an antidumping or countervailing duty order, or terminate a suspension agreement, after five years unless Commerce and the USITC determine that doing so would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping or subsidies (Commerce) and of material injury (USITC) within a reasonably foreseeable time.
Each agency conducts reviews on its separate question. If either agency makes a negative determination, the antidumping or countervailing duty order will be revoked. If both agencies make affirmative determinations, the antidumping or countervailing duty order will remain in place.
The USITC is responsible for conducting global safeguard (escape clause) and market disruption investigations under the Trade Act of 1974. Under the U.S. global safeguard law (section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974), if the USITC determines that an article is being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury or threat of serious injury to a domestic industry producing a like or directly competitive product, it recommends to the President relief that would remedy the injury and facilitate industry adjustment to import competition. The President makes the final decision concerning whether to provide relief and the type and duration of relief. Relief is temporary and for the purpose of providing time for the industry to adjust to import competition. Relief may take the form of increased tariffs, tariff-rate quotas, quotas, adjustment measures (including trade adjustment assistance), and negotiation of agreements with foreign countries. In making its determination, the USITC is not required to find an unfair trade practice.
In China safeguard investigations under section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974, the USITC determines whether a product from China is being imported into the United States in such increased quantities or under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause market disruption to the domestic producers of like or directly competitive products. If the USITC makes an affirmative determination, it proposes a remedy. The Commission sends its report to the President and the U.S. Trade Representative. The President makes the final remedy decision.
The USITC also conducts country or region-specific safeguard investigations under U.S. legislation that implements U.S. free trade agreements, including agreements with Canada and Mexico (NAFTA), and Singapore . If the USITC finds, as a result of a duty reduction under an agreement, that a domestic industry is seriously injured or threatened with serious injury by increased imports, it recommends a form of relief to the President. The President makes the final decision on relief. The relief is temporary and may be in the form of a rollback of a duty reduction under the agreement or suspension of further duty reductions on the imported good.