Trade Court Grants US Motion to Amend APO in UFLPA Entity List Case, Preserves Parties' Rights to Challenge Terms
The Court of International Trade in an Oct. 24 order granted the U.S. motion to enter an amended protective order in Chinese printer cartridge maker Ninestar Corp.'s case against its placement on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List. The order dismissed Ninestar's motion to compel the unredacted administrative record as moot, while clarifying that the order was issued "without prejudice to the parties' rights to petition the court to further modify the terms of the APO" or their right to challenge the designation of materials as confidential under the APO (Ninestar Corp. v. United States, CIT # 23-00182).
Ninestar opposed the motion on the grounds that it would give the government "essentially unreviewable discretion to seal information, placing it beyond" the exporter's review (see 2310240048). The current APO in the case redacts the vast majority of information that the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force used in deciding to list Ninestar.
The U.S. has justified its decision not to disclose the confidential information on the grounds that it has a vital interest in protecting its confidential sources. Ninestar said this claim fails, since "the Government makes no effort to tailor its proposed amendment to its asserted interest" and "accepting the proposed amendments would make the Government the final arbiter of confidentiality, restricting Ninestar from seeing a shred of the Government’s explanation for the listing decision." The U.S. said its listing decision was based on information from Ninestar, press clippings and Chinese government documents, though that is the extent of the description of the materials it used.
The Chinese company and its subsidiaries produce and sell laser printers, integrated circuit chips and printer consumables, including toner and inkjet cartridges, many of which are imported into the U.S. The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force added the companies to the UFLPA Entity List in June for allegedly working with the Xinjiang government to reap the benefits of forced labor by Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz or members of other persecuted groups in Xinjiang (see 2308230016).