The Commerce Department on August 12 postponed its preliminary determination in Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from the People’s Republic of China to October 24 claiming it needed more time due to the large number and complexity of the subsidy programs alleged in the case.  However, most of the allegations involve programs that Commerce has investigated recently in other cases.  A more likely explanation, therefore, is that the civil servants temporarily acting while political positions in the Commerce Department remain vacant want more time in hopes that more politial guidance wil be provided before critical policy decisions must be made.  A recent article in Inside U.S. Trade’s World Trade Online took note of the large number of vacancies in the political positions in the Commerce Department.  We discussed how these vacancies are affecting trade policy in a recent posting on this blog.