WASHINGTON - Hardwood plywood imported from China does not injure the U.S. industry and will not be subjected to antidumping duties, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) ruled today.
The ITC's determination ran contrary to the Sept. 17 final determination by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) that Chinese hardwood plywood sold in the United States is subsidized at less than fair value. Today's ruling also represented a reversal from the ITC's preliminary determination one year ago "that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of hardwood plywood from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value."
ITC instead ruled that there is not enough evidence to demonstrate that the U.S. wood industry is materially injured nor threatened with material injury by imported Chinese hardwood and decorative plywood.
Plywood Dumping Ruling Delayed Dec. 2013
ITC voted 5-0, with Chairman Irving Williamson and Commissioners Shara Aranoff, Dean Pinkert, David Johanson, and Meredith Broadbent voting against the antidumping petitioners.
“We are extremely disappointed by today’s decision by International Trade Commissioners," said Joe Gonyea III, partner and CEO of Timber Products Co., a member of the Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood (CFTHP), which claims Chinese hardwood plywood is being dumped on the U.S. market. "We continue to advocate for free trade that must be fair trade."
"Despite three earlier rounds of preliminary decisions that supported the case of domestic producers, the ITC turned a deaf ear to overwhelming statistical evidence that Chinese hardwood plywood manufacturers had put U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage and that international trading laws were being violated," Gonyea added. "Today’s decision by the ITC is a crushing blow to U.S. manufacturers, their employees, and the communities where we do business."
The CFTHP, which also includes include Columbia Forest Products, Commonwealth Plywood Co. Ltd., Murphy Plywood, Roseburg Forest Products Co and States Industries LLC, was vehemently opposed the American Alliance of Hardwood Plywood (AAHP), which included more than a dozen hardwood plywood importers and the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) among its members.
Greg Simon, co-chairman of the AAHP, said, "The ITC ruling proves that due process does exist in the federal government and that sound market evidence will overrule misguided allegations. Domestic and imported plywood both play a vital complementary role for American cabinet manufacturers and other end users of this important raw material. The ITC's ruling confirms that plywood from the United States, China and other countries can continue trade in a fair manner as they always have."
Cindy Squires, executive director of the International Wood Products Association, praised the AAHP for fighting the antidumping action. “This vote was a win for American businesses, jobs, and consumers," Squires said. “The industry has been uncertain for months over the outcome of this case and with today’s vote can turn their attention back to their businesses. We look forward to returning to industry growth in both domestic and imported wood products.”
Jeff Levin, counsel for CFTHP, said, "ITC’s vote came despite the fact that all Chinese imports of the product were found to be unfairly traded in the U.S. market by substantial margins. The ITC itself found that the Chinese imports undersold domestically-manufactured hardwood and decorative plywood by substantial margins."
In its Sept. 17 final determination, DOC said its investigation revealed that imports of hardwood and decorative plywood from China were sold in the United States at dumping margins ranging from 55.76 percent to 121.65 percent. It also determined that all but three companies received countervailing subsidies, ranging from 13.58 percent to 27.16 percent.
The ITC will issue a public report, Hardwood Plywood from China (Investigation Nos. 701-TA- 490 and 731-TA-1204 (Final), USITC Publication 4434, November 2013). It will contain the views of the Commissioners and information developed during the investigations. Copies will be available after Dec. 16 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 202-205-2000, or by writing the Office of the Secretary, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.
Gonyea said, "Timber Products Company will move forward and continue to support the hardwood plywood needs of our customers with competitive products that are sourced from sustainably managed forest lands, manufactured in the USA.”