Cabinet company investigated for customs evasion
January 7, 2021 | 11:34 am CST
Shown is some of the cabinetry available from U.S. Cabinet Depot.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is investigating BGI Group Inc., doing business as U.S. Cabinet Depot, for allegedly evading antidumping and countervailing duties on wooden cabinets and vanities imported from China by transshipping the products through Cambodia, then falsely designating Cambodia as the cabinetry's country of origin.

The allegation was filed on behalf of the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance under the Enforce and Protect Act. Since April 21, 2020, imports of Chinese wooden cabinets and vanities have been covered by AD/CVD orders and are subject to duties of up to roughly 300%.

An investigation by the Trade Remedy Law Enforcement Directorate within CBP’s Office of Trade found "that the allegation reasonably suggests that BGI is evading AD/CVD orders A-570-106 and C-570-107, respectively, by importing Chinese origin WCV into the United States that had been transshipped through Cambodia and failing to declare the merchandise as subject to the applicable AD/CVD orders." Documentation submitted by AKCA included aggregate U.S. import data, individual shipment data sourced from Panjiva, and a sworn affidavit.

According to the affidavit and documentation, the owners of Gaomi City Haitian Wooden Ware Co., Ltd. and Xuzhou Longyuan Wood Industry Co., the Chinese companies that "actually manufactured" the cabinetry, established Cambodia Golden Coast Wood Products Co., Ltd. the Cambodian company  instead credited as the manufacturer. It's claimed also that an owner of BGI may own stakes in the Chinese entities.

The allegations also state the RTA cabinetry components, including the doors, drawer fronts and face frames, are manufactured and individually packaged in China, then sent to Golden Coast, where they are combined and repackaged with the carcass of the cabinet, before being shipped to the United States.

Even if Golden Coast did perform some processing, the claim states, the products still fall under the scope of the order which includes “wooden components required to assemble a cabinet or vanity (including drawer faces and doors)” as well as “parts.”

"This is a huge win for our industry and the American workforce," said Betsy Natz, CEO of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA), which backs the AKCA. "Our association's mission is to make sure the strong, unified voice of our members is heard. The filing of this allegation is one of the many ways that KCMA is working with Customs and other law enforcement agencies to hold responsible any foreign producers and U.S. importers that attempt to evade payment of the AD/CVD duties."

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About the author
Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at [email protected]