Commerce rules in favor of hardwood plywood firms; 200 percent duties declared against China
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Commerce has declared certain types of hardwood plywood from China - those that are packaged as kitchen cabinets - belong to a group of products being sold at unfairly low prices in the U.S., and that those products would be subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
The Department's final scope specifically states that Chinese hardwood plywood used in kitchen cabinets would be subject to antidumping duties unless it is packaged for sale to a consumer end-user of the cabinet - with all components necessary to assemble the cabinet in a single, discreet package. 
If that exclusion isn't fully met, importers will owe 200 percent duties on these products going forward.
In February, four U.S. producers of hardwood plywood - Columbia Forest Products, Commonwealth Plywood Inc., States Industries, Inc., and Timber Products Co., - filed a petition with Commerce, asking the agency to find that hardwood plywood products with face and back veneers made of softwood species suitable for decorative uses are circumventing the recently issued antidumping and countervailing duty orders on hardwood plywood products from China. All four of the companies are members of the Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood.
The orders on hardwood plywood products from China were issued on January 4, 2018 following affirmative findings of dumping and subsidization by the Department of Commerce and a unanimous finding by the U.S. International Trade Commission that the domestic industry is materially injured by unfairly traded Chinese imports.  The final antidumping margin is 183.36 percent for all Chinese companies and the final countervailing subsidy rates range from 22.98 to 194.90 percent.
“Before the orders were issued, Chinese producers began to preemptively circumvent the anticipated orders by taking merchandise fully covered by the scope and making minor alterations in an attempt to remove products from the coverage of the scope to avoid duties," said Tim Brightbill of Wiley Rein, the law firm representing the Coalition. "Such blatant attempts to evade the orders are depriving the domestic industry of the full extent of the trade relief it deserves."
Commerce also confirmed that hardwood plywood that has had minor processing remains subject merchandise. Minor processing may include plywood that has been cut-to-size, painted, laminated, stained, finished with ultra-violet light, grooved, covered in paper, and/or edgebanded. Hardwood plywood is subject to the orders on from China regardless of the country in which the minor processing takes place, said Brightbill in a statement. 
To meet the RTA exclusion, it must be shipped with all the materials specified in the exclusion and must be packaged in a manner suitable for purchase by an end-use consumer in a single package. 


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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].