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Kyocera Solar, Inc. v. United States International Trade Commission

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

December 15, 2016

KYOCERA SOLAR, INC., KYOCERA MEXICANA S.A. DE C. V., Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION, SOLARWORLD AMERICAS, INC., Defendants-Appellees

         Appeal from the United States Court of International Trade in No. 1:15-cv-00084-NT, Senior Judge Nicholas Tsoucalas.

          James Kevin Horgan, DeKieffer & Horgan, PLLC, Washington, DC, argued for plaintiffs-appellants. Also represented by John J. Kenkel, Gregory S. Menegaz, Alexandra H. Salzman.

          Mary Jane Alves, Office of the General Counsel, United States International Trade Commission, Washington, DC, argued for defendant-appellee United States International Trade Commission. Also represented by Andrea C. Casson, Dominic L. Bianchi.

          Timothy C. Brightbill, Wiley Rein, LLP, Washington, DC, argued for defendant-appellee SolarWorld Americas, Inc. Also represented by Stephanie Manaker Bell, Tessa V. Capeloto, Laura El-Sabaawi, Derick Holt, Usha Neelakantan, Maureen E. Thorson.

          Before Dyk, O'Malley, and Stoll, Circuit Judges.

          Stoll, Circuit Judge

         Kyocera Solar Inc. and Kyocera Mexicana S.A. de C.V. (collectively, "Kyocera") appeal a final determination by the U.S. Court of International Trade ("CIT"). The CIT reviewed and affirmed the International Trade Commission's ("Commission") determination that the statutory text did not support Kyocera's proposed interpretation of the statute. Because we agree that the plain meaning of the statute forecloses Kyocera's proposed interpretation, we affirm.

         Background

         This case concerns solar modules (i.e., solar panels) that incorporate crystalline silicon photovoltaic ("CSPV") cells from Taiwan. CSPV cells convert sunlight into electricity using mono- or multi-crystalline silicon cells. The CSPV cells are strung together, sealed, laminated, and framed to make solar modules, also known as CSPV modules. CSPV cells are the main electricity-generating component of solar modules.

         Kyocera produces and manufactures solar modules abroad and imports them for sale in the United States. The solar modules at issue in this case are ultimately assembled in and imported from Mexico but incorporate Taiwanese CSPV cells. These solar modules were subject to an antidumping duty investigation into CSPV products from China and Taiwan. SolarWorld Industries America, Inc., an American producer of CSPV cells and modules, had filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions alleging material injury and threat of material injury to a domestic industry by CSPV product imports from China and Taiwan.

         The Department of Commerce ("Commerce") defined the investigation's scope to include cells and modules produced in Taiwan and certain modules "completed or partially manufactured" in other countries. The relevant portion of Commerce's scope definition is reproduced below:

The merchandise covered by these investigations is crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates and/or panels consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including building integrated materials. For purposes of these investigations, subject merchandise also includes modules, laminates and/or panels assembled in the subject country consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells that are completed or partially manufactured within a customs territory other than that subject country, using ingots that are manufactured in the subject country, wafers that are manufactured in the subject country, or cells where the manufacturing process begins in the subject country and is completed in a non-subject country.

Certain Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Products From the People's Republic of China and Taiwan, 79 Fed. Reg. 4661, 4667 (Dep't of Commerce Jan. 29, 2014) (initiating antidumping duty investigations).

         Kyocera later challenged Commerce's scope determination and requested that it exclude solar modules produced in Mexico from the investigation's scope, including modules produced in Mexico using CSPV cells manufactured in Taiwan. Commerce declined Kyocera's request. It determined that the investigation would include solar modules produced in Mexico that incorporated Taiwanese CSPV cells. Commerce explained that "[m]odules, laminates, and panels produced in a third-country from cells produced in Taiwan are covered by this investigation." Certain Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Products from Taiwan, 79 Fed. Reg. 76, 966, 76, 968 (Dep't of Commerce Dec. 23, 2014) (final determination). Kyocera challenged this scope determination in a ...


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