WASHINGTON D.C. - Chinese plywood producers, exporters, and domestic importers have begun filing appeals at the U.S. Court of International Trade - challenging the International Trade Commission's (ITC) decision finding injury to U.S. producers from these imports.
So far, two separate Chinese firms - Linyi Chengen Import and Export and Celtic Co. Ltd. - have filed appeals, reported the Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association (HPVA). The schedule for filing briefs will be announced shortly.
The ITC issued its final determination, activating significant tariffs - nearly 200 percent - on some on imports of Chinese hardwood plywood last November, voting 4-0 that the domestic industry is materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by reason of these dumped and subsidized imports.
The trade group Coalition for the Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood, which initiated efforts to get tariffs on Chinese plywood twice before times, commended the unanimous decision by the ITC, as "meaningful relief" for the U.S. hardwood plywood manufacturers. The Coalition says 42 mills have closed and that many more have had to reduce capacity, with a loss of 52,000 jobs in the U.S., and $2 billion in wages.
“Today’s decision demonstrates that the U.S. Government will not tolerate unfair trade practices and will support American manufacturing and workers,” said HPVA President Kip Howlett soon after the tariffs were activated. “This puts American interests first by standing up to the illegal imports of Chinese hardwood plywood."
The American Alliance for Hardwood Plywood - mostly distributors of Chinese plywood - expressed shock at the punitive tariffs that were not disclosed until President Trump returned from his recent trip to Asia following meetings with China's President Xi.
“These rates are based purely on politics, not on any type of marketplace reality," said AAHP Chairman Greg Simon. "Hundreds of thousands of American workers will pay the price in lost jobs. Industries including the kitchen cabinet, recreational vehicle, window and door, furniture, homebuilding and flooring industries all utilize the Chinese hardwood plywood because it is distinctly different from American hardwood plywood.”
In October, the ITC held a hearing on imports of Chinese hardwood plywood and listened to the testimony of numerous U.S. producers, company executives, and members of Congress. The Department of Commerce also made final determinations against Chinese hardwood plywood and set an anti-dumping duty of 183.6 percent, as well as countervailing duties ranging up to 194.9 percent.
In addition to the testimony provided at the ITC, the Coalition received a letter of support from more than 40 members of Congress - led by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Pete DeFazio (D-OR) - urging the ITC to issue meaningful relief for the U.S. industry. The letter of support recognized the ways in which the U.S. industry has been harmed by illegal trade practices, forcing many producers to operate at less than 50 percent capacity. Imports of Chinese hardwood plywood increased 22 percent from 2014 to 2