The Biden administration has been asked by a judge about its hypocrisy in international travel. A judge ordered the Commerce Department to explain why it would not allow union workers or career officials to travel to India but did allow senior administration officials.
“A new court ruling exposed that the Biden administration allowed international travel to India for political appointees while blocking travel for career officials and labor union workers, which the administration has pledged to support” reports Fox News.
The lawsuit was brought by steel manufacturer Bonney Forge Corporation and United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW).
The suit alleges that the Commerce Department is not performing its role, as required by law, to verify manufacturing information related to steel imports out of India in accordance with its anti-dumping obligations.
Bonney Forge and USW say the administration has used COVID-19 as the excuse as to why they will not send individuals to India to check on the production information for anti-dumping. However, they did clear recent travel of high-level Biden political appointees to India.
The groups also say the administration did not even respond to requests asking to conduct the verification process virtually. The Commerce Department opened an investigation into steel fittings from India in 2019 after Bonney Forge and USW made the allegation that steel from India was being sold at a less than fair market inside the U.S.
Fox News Digital did confirm that while travel was not allowed for the manufacturers, Biden administration officials did travel to India. The Department of Justice (DOJ) Deputy Assistant Attorney General Arun Rao traveled to India in October of 2021 to “strengthen law enforcement cooperation.”
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai also traveled to India in October of 2021 to meet with “government officials and stakeholders” and strengthen trade relationships. Fox News reports:
In an opinion issued Wednesday by Judge Stephen Alexander Vaden in the U.S. Court of International Trade, the Commerce Department will have to explain why it allowed senior administration officials to travel to India, but not union workers or career officials who would have been sent to conduct verification visits.
“Should the Government maintain its position that verification remains impossible, the Government can explain in the record why it is safe for senior Department of Justice and Cabinet officials to travel to India in person on discretionary trips but not safe for civil servants with statutory responsibilities to perform to do the same, even if only virtually,” Judge Vaden said in his opinion.
He also wrote, “It is Commerce’s job to enforce these guarantees through the antidumping and countervailing duty statutes. Their responsibilities are thus complementary, but their travel standards clearly are not. It is apparently currently safe to conduct high-level negotiations but not safe to ensure the terms of those deals are actually enforced, despite the destinations being the same.”
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