Seattle – The U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Yakima Products Inc. headquartered in Lake Oswego, Oregon, has resolved allegations that Yakima Products knowingly failed to pay required antidumping and countervailing duties on extruded aluminum components imported from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Yakima will pay the U.S. $3 million, of which $1,325,000 is restitution. Yakima will pay the settlement over a one-year period.
“Yakima Products Inc. has successfully manufactured and sold automobile accessories for years, but failed to take action when it was informed that it was not paying appropriate duties on material imported from China,” said U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. “Knowingly avoiding those costs gives Yakima an unfair advantage over other manufacturers who pay those required fees. Now the company is not only paying those costs, but also penalties as well as the attorney fees of the relator who reported the improper conduct.”
According to the settlement agreement, from January 1, 2012, through July 5, 2021, Yakima Products Inc failed to pay the duties it owed. Yakima had been informed of the need to pay the duties but chose not to do so.
Ultimately, a former employee brought the matter to the attention of the government in a qui tam lawsuit filed in April 2021. As the person who reports the fraud on a government program or policy, the former employee, known as the relator, will receive 17% of the funds paid to the government. In addition, Yakima Products Inc. will pay $75,000 in legal fees for the relator.
As part of the settlement agreement, Yakima Products Inc does not admit wrongdoing, but seeks to resolve the matter to avoid the delay, uncertainty, and expense of protracted litigation.
“This settlement agreement with Yakima marks a significant milestone in our relentless pursuit of fair-trade practices,” said Christopher Perry, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “I commend the dedication and hard work of CBP’s trade specialists, along with our invaluable federal partners, in upholding the integrity of our nation’s trade policies. Together, we remain steadfast in ensuring a level playing field for American businesses and ensuring everyone plays by the rules.”
The settlement was negotiated by Assistant United States Attorney Nickolas Bohl and Senior Attorney Kenneth Misbin with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.