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March 2, 2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA and CDC take action to increase access to respirators, including N95s, for health care personnel - In a joint effort, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took action to make more respirators, including certain N95s, available to health care personnel. Currently, the majority of respirators on the market are indicated for use in industrial settings. Today’s action allows certain National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators not currently regulated by the FDA to be used in a health care setting by health care personnel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, thereby maximizing the number of respirators available to meet the needs of the U.S. health care system.

USITC Makes Determination in Five-Year (Sunset) Review concerning Small Diameter Graphite Electrodes from China  - U.S. International Trade Commission

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that revoking the existing antidumping duty order on imports of small diameter graphite electrodes from China would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time. 

As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determination, the existing antidumping duty order on imports of this product from China will remain in place. 

Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Jason E. Kearns, Randolph J. Stayin, and Amy A. Karpel voted in the affirmative.  

Today’s action comes under the five-year (sunset) review process required by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.  See the attached page for background on this five-year (sunset) review.

The Commission’s public report Small Diameter Graphite Electrodes from China (Inv. No. 731-TA-1143 (Second Review), USITC Publication 5035, March 2020) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the review.

The report will be available by April 13, 2020; when available, it may be accessed on the USITC website at:


The Uruguay Round Agreements Act requires the Department of Commerce to revoke an antidumping or countervailing duty order, or terminate a suspension agreement, after five years unless the Department of Commerce and the USITC determine that revoking the order or terminating the suspension agreement would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping or subsidies (Commerce) and of material injury (USITC) within a reasonably foreseeable time.

The Commission’s institution notice in five-year reviews requests that interested parties file responses with the Commission concerning the likely effects of revoking the order under review as well as other information.

Generally within 95 days from institution, the Commission will determine whether the responses it has received reflect an adequate or inadequate level of interest in a full review.  If responses to the USITC’s notice of institution are adequate, or if other circumstances warrant a full review, the Commission conducts a full review, which includes a public hearing and issuance of questionnaires.

The Commission generally does not hold a hearing or conduct further investigative activities in expedited reviews.  Commissioners base their injury determination in expedited reviews on the facts available, including the Commission’s prior injury and review determinations, responses received to its notice of institution, data collected by staff in connection with the review, and information provided by the Department of Commerce.

The five-year (sunset) review concerning Small Diameter Graphite Electrodes from China was instituted on May 1, 2019.

On August 5, 2019, the Commission voted to conduct a full review. Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Irving A. Williamson, Meredith M. Broadbent, and Jason E. Kearns concluded that the domestic group response was adequate and the respondent group response was inadequate, but that circumstances warranted a full review.  Commissioner Rhonda K. Schmidtlein concluded that the domestic group response was adequate and the respondent group response was inadequate and voted for an expedited review.

A record of the Commission’s vote to conduct a full review is available from the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.  Requests may be made by telephone by calling 202-205-1802.

Statement from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on UN “Blacklist” of Companies - Department of Commerce

On February 12, 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a “blacklist” of companies, including several U.S. companies, that do business in Israel-controlled territories. Boycotts against Israel and companies doing business with and in Israel are contrary to longstanding U.S. policy. The UN “blacklist” is anti-business, seeks to isolate Israel, has no factual basis or legal force whatsoever, and should not be adhered to in any respect. The Government of the United States fully supports the U.S. companies identified on the list and encourages all U.S. businesses to continue to work with and invest in Israeli as well as Palestinian communities.

FTC Sending Refunds Totaling Over $2 Million to Consumers Harmed by Alleged Government Imposter Scheme - Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 4,976 refund checks and sending 44,136 PayPal payments totaling over $2 million to consumers allegedly defrauded by American Immigration Center.

According to the FTC, starting in 2010, the company falsely implied that its websites were affiliated with the U.S. government to sell immigration form preparation services to consumers, many of whom were trying to reach the actual government site to renew their green cards or apply for naturalization. Consumers often did not realize that they were not on a government website until they had already paid the defendants $120 to $300.

The consent order settling the Commission’s charges banned the defendants from engaging in the illegal conduct alleged in the complaint and required defendants to clearly disclose that their websites are not affiliated with the government. It also imposed a $2.2 million judgment to provide refunds to allegedly defrauded consumers.

Consumers who receive a check from the FTC should deposit or cash the check within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC is also sending refund payments via PayPal to consumers for whom the agency does not have a mailing address. Consumers will have 30 days to accept the PayPal payment. The FTC’s related FAQ provides more details about how the refund process will work.

Analytics, Inc., the refund administrator for this matter, will begin mailing checks today. The refund amount for each consumer is $42.71. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information to cash refund checks. Consumers who have questions about the mailing should call Analytics, Inc. at 1-877-729-1539.

The FTC provides tips for consumers on how to spot immigration-related scams. You can find this information on our consumer blog, business blog, and consumer webpage for avoiding scams against immigrants.

The FTC’s new interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of refunds, as well as refund programs from other FTC cases. In 2019, FTC actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to consumers across the country.

Spring into Action by Adding Safety to Daylight Saving Time - US Consumer Product Safety Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Sunday, March 8, consumers will turn their clocks forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time. People may lose one hour of sleep, but they will gain daylight for activities. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants you to spring into action by adding safety to your daylight saving time changeover.

“The change in time is a perfect opportunity to check and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Bob Adler. “And with the extra daylight, practice a fire escape plan.”

The 3 life-saving steps you and your family can take, CPSC explained:

Check smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms: Check your alarms monthly. If you do not have smoke and CO alarms, now is the time to buy them for your home and install them. A smoke alarm should be on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas. CO alarms should also be placed on every level of your home, and outside sleeping areas.

Change the batteries: Batteries should be replaced in alarms, unless the alarms have sealed 10-year batteries. Replace your smoke alarms if they are more than 10 years old.

Practice a fire escape plan: Make sure there are two ways out from each room and a clear path to outside from each exit. Once out, stay out.

CPSC estimates that in 2016, there were about 352,000 residential structure fires, resulting in about 2,400 deaths, 10,400 injuries, and $6.36 billion in property damage. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA,) in 2018, a home fire occurs at the rate of one every 87 seconds. From 2012 to 2016, the NFPA estimated that almost three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate more than 400 people die in the United States every year from CO poisoning.

Do more than just change your clocks, take the time for safety.

Daylight Savings Time video:

For more information, visit
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