EUGENE, OR - States Industries, a manufacturer of hardwood plywood, laid off 35 employees, a week after the International Trade Commission voted unanimously against placing antidumping duties on hardwood plywood imported from China.
Michael Taylor, president of States, told KVAL that the lay off of approximately 10 percent of the company's workforce, were at least partly prompted by the antidumping ruling.
States was one of six domestic hardwood plywood manufacturing companies that joined together as the Coalition for Fair Hardwood Plywood Trade (CFHPT). Last year, the CFHPT files a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce claiming that China unfairly subsidizes its hardwood plywood manufacturing industry making it difficult for domestic producers to compete in the U.S. market.
The Register-Guard published an excerpt from an email received by one of the laid off workers. It read in part, “To whom it may concern, due to economic conditions on Nov. 11, 2013, there were curtailments made at States Industries. Unfortunately, (your position) was one whose position was curtailed due to lack of work.”
The worker who shared the note, told the Register-Guard that he recently received a raise and that employees were told at a recent company-wide meeting that it was looking to expand production to three shifts.
The ITC's Nov. 5 ruling, which ran counter to one by the Department of Commerce, struck a disappointing blow with the CFHPT. Other members include Columbia Forest Products, Timber Products, Commonwealth Plywood Co. Ltd., Murphy Plywood and Roseburg Forest Products Co.
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."
States Industries was purchased in 2010 by Rendwood States Lending shortly after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. States purchased Drawer Box Specialties of Orange, CA, in December of 2012.
The ITC estimated that the U.S. annually consumes an estimated $2 billion of hardwood plywood. Of this estimated total, approximately 66.5 percent was imported with China accounting for approximately $707.3 million.