The U.S. Supreme Court made the right decision when it voted against hearing a case challenging the Byrd Amendment and the subsequent distribution of an estimated $60 million in funds collected from duties on low-priced Chinese bedroom furniture imports.
Under the Byrd Amendment, also known as the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000, non-U.S. firms that sold products below the cost price in the United States were fined and the money given only to the U.S. companies that made the initial complaint. Although the repeal of the amendment in 2007 phased out the lucrative revenue stream for the more than two-dozen companies that petitioned for this particular bedroom furniture antidumping ruling, the money already collected by the government will still be paid out.
That’s not sitting well with companies such as Furniture Brands Intl, Kimball Furniture, Ashley Furniture, Ethan Allen, Solid Comfort and others, that are now trying to claim a piece of the pie. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, FBN, for example, will miss out on $25 million in the collected import duties.
While I can understand why a company would have been hesitant to sign the initial petition and risk angering its manufacturing partners and customers, the argument that FBN, for example, “opposed the petition because it believed low-cost foreign competition was inevitable,” does not give them the right to now cry wolf. There should be no reward without having undergone the risk, and to sit back and demand payment for their silence is greedy.
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