The US Commerce Department has recently reasserted its position in the USEC trade case.

In March this year, the US Court of International Trade had raised fundamental questions about a group of rulings that had been made in 2001, in which the Commerce Department had imposed duties on exports to the USA of low-enriched uranium (LEU) by USEC’s European competitors (see NEI, May 2003, p3). Its competitiors are Urenco and Cogema.

One key question that had been posed by the Court of International Trade had been whether or not uranium enrichers could be legitimately classified as “producers” of LEU, and whether they were therefore subject to the relevant provisions of US trade law. Alternatively they could be said to provide a ‘service’.

In its 6 June filing, the Commerce Department said: “Because enrichers make relevant sales that can be used to establish the US price of LEU, and can engage in and control all the aspects of enrichment processing, which is a necessary and significant manufacturing operation for the production of LEU, we find that, taken together, the facts and circumstances in this case indicate that the enrichers are the producers of LEU for the purpose of establishing the US price of the subject merchandise and its normal value.”