Saturday, August 28, 2021

Esquel Group resumes litigation against U.S. Department of Commerce

On August 27, 2021, Esquel Group filed a motion to re-set a hearing date with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, resuming its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Commerce to remove the erroneous inclusion of Changji Esquel Textile Co. Ltd. (CJE) on the U.S. Entity List. This follows a joint motion to extend filed on August 3, 2021, that was supposed to allow CJE and the Department of Commerce to fulfill conditions set forward by the Department’s End-User Review Committee when it agreed to conditionally remove CJE from the Entity List on July 31, 2021.

Despite good faith efforts since early August, Esquel Group and the U.S. Department of Commerce have not been able to come to a resolution as the US government is unable to provide any concrete timeline by which it could finally remove CJE from the Entity List. In the meantime, Esquel has suffered substantial, ongoing, and irreparable harms that have continued and even worsened in the last month. Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has detained and begun to exclude from entry a large number of shipments from Esquel’s factories outside of China, potentially forcing Esquel to miss commitments with customers and causing permanent economic and reputational damages. This heightens the need for emergency relief. Esquel is left with no choice but to resume its lawsuit.

Under the prior U.S. administration, CJE was added to the Entity List without notice and with no supporting evidence. Esquel made an initial filing against the Department of Commerce on July 6, which points to a lack of any factual or legal basis for CJE’s listing and seeks access to the administrative record the Commerce Department relied on in making its erroneous listing. On July 31, 2021, the Department of Commerce’s End-User Review Committee (ERC) decided to remove CJE from the Entity List subject to certain conditions.  On August 3, a joint motion was filed to extend the Government’s deadline to respond by 30 days to allow for CJE and the Department of Commerce to fulfill those conditions. As of August 26, 2021, the U.S. government has maintained that no concrete timeline can be provided for the necessary steps needed before CJE will be removed from the Entity List and have acknowledged that several variables could delay fulfillment of the conditions.

We continue to feel strongly that the irrefutable facts and the law are on our side in this case and look to seek swift judicial action.

Information on Esquel’s lawsuit and our position is available on our website.