Thursday, December 2, 2021

Curtis Successfully Defends The Sultanate of Oman and Oman Aluminium Rolling Company LLC in U.S. Department of Commerce Trade Case

Curtis’ International Trade practice delivered a significant victory for the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and local aluminum sheet and foil producer Oman Aluminium Rolling Company LLC (OARC) in a year-long investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce into allegations that the Sultanate unfairly subsidised OARC’s operations.

The pivotal issue in the case was the charge that the Sultanate directed banks in Oman to provide OARC with preferential lending. An international Curtis team, comprising lawyers in Muscat, Geneva, and Washington, successfully beat back the allegations. The result was a “negative” finding on the banking issue by the U.S. Commerce Department and only minimal duties for OARC, preserving its access to the U.S. market.

This is Curtis’ second major victory in Oman involving allegations of unfair subsidies led by partner Matthew McCullough, who specialises in U.S. countervailing duty law. In 2015, Mr. McCullough directed a Sultanate defense representing both the Government and a local PET resin producer to a complete victory in a similar U.S. proceeding.

“Such cases give a government the opportunity to demonstrate internationally that its economy works on competitive, transparent, market-oriented terms,” commented lead partner Matthew McCullough. “A successful result like this helps to preserve and attract inward investment and deters new cases by showing the allegations to be baseless.”

Muscat Managing Partner Simon Ward added, “This case also demonstrates Curtis’ ability to provide immediate legal support in Oman, while drawing on our international team to deliver effective, practical, and efficient legal services in highly specialised areas of international and commercial law such as U.S. countervailing duty law.”

The Curtis team was led by partners Matt McCullough (Geneva/Washington) and Mehdi Mohamed Al Lawati (Muscat), and included associates James Beatty (Washington), Arthad Kurlekar (Geneva), Amrane Medjani (Geneva) and Reem Al Mahrizi (Muscat).