The Brazilian Secretariat of Foreign Trade (“SECEX”) published three notices today, in which it suspended the deadlines to conclude ongoing antidumping sunset reviews for two months. The authority admitted that these cases may extend for a longer period than the maximum twelve-month deadline (as foreseen in Article 112 of Decree No. 8.058/2013, as provided in Article 11.4 of the Antidumping Agreement).
SECEX relied on Article 67 of Law No. 9.784/1999 (Administrative Procedure Law) to justify its decision to suspend deadlines, due to a greater force, defined as travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, thereby preventing the authority from carrying out on-the-spot investigations. According to SECEX, if it cannot execute on-the-spot investigations, it is unable to comply with the deadlines foreseen in the Antidumping Agreement to conclude the investigative phase.
The Brazilian authority’s decision to suspend deadlines until it is capable of conducting on-the-spot investigations appears to be the first among the principal trade agencies worldwide – the European Commission, for instance, has indicated that it shall rely on available evidence. In the case of procedures truly extending beyond the maximum deadlines, discussions concerning their compliance with domestic and international rules may be opened in the proper instances.