WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce on April 15 said it had initiated a formal scope inquiry requested Nov. 14, 2018, by Batory Foods, Inc., and Rafi Industries, Inc. to determine whether repackaged sugar imported from Mexico is outside the scope of the agreements suspending the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on sugar from Mexico.

The request concerns U.S.-origin sugar that is repackaged in Mexico into kraft paper bags or supersacks and then re-imported into the United States. The suspension agreements signed by the United States and Mexico in July 2017 set specific limits for U.S. imports of raw and refined sugar from Mexico.

In initiating the formal scope inquiry, the D.O.C. said it is seeking comments on a forthcoming preliminary ruling. The formal initiation does not necessarily preclude the D.O.C. from finding that the language of the scope is unambiguous and that the plain language of the suspension agreements does not include the described merchandise.

The D.O.C. said it intends to issue a preliminary scope ruling shortly after the initiation notice. Interested parties may comment on the preliminary ruling in their case and rebuttal briefs. The D.O.C. will not accept new factual information in case and rebuttal briefs. Case briefs may be submitted no later than 20 days after the issuance of the preliminary scope ruling. Parties then may submit rebuttal briefs within 10 days of the date of the filing of case briefs. Surrebuttal briefs will not be accepted. Written comments and rebuttal comments should be submitted via Enforcement and Compliance’s Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day it is due.

The D.O.C. said it intends to issue its final determination within 120 days from the case initiation, which would be Aug. 13, 2019.