WASHINGTON – The Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood (CFTHP) has filed an unfair trade petition against China for products "sold in the United States at dumped prices." News of the antidumping petition was announced Sept. 27.

In its petition to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, the CFTHP, an association comprised of U.S. manufacturers of hardwood and decorative plywood, "asserts that imports of the product are sold in the United States at dumped prices and are subsidized by the Government of China." This, they said, gives Chinese manufacturers an unfair advantage.

The CFTHP said the petition is supported by a number of U.S. hardwood plywood manufacturers, representing approximately 80 percent of domestic production. According to the filing in the Federal Register, companies in the CFTHP include: Columbia Forest Products, Commonwealth Plywood Co. Ltd., Murphy Plywood, Roseburg Forest Products Co., States Industries LLC and Timber Products Co.

The manufacturers  claim they have "suffered material competitive injury as a result of these unfair trade practices, and that the industry continues to be threatened by further injury by reason of the Chinese imports," according to the statement.

In its statement, CFTHP said, "Over the last several years, the share of the U.S. hardwood plywood market captured by imports from China has grown from single or low double-digits to about 50 percent." The petition documents antidumping and countervailing duty margins in excess of 300 percent.

“China has 'dumped' products into the U.S. market at prices that are well below fair value,” CFTHP counsel Jeff Levin said in a statement. “Furthermore, Chinese manufacturers receive an array of government subsidies, including their access to raw materials – logs and timber – that come from suspect or illicit sources. All of these factors equate to an enormous unfair advantage for Chinese manufacturers, and injure the entire domestic hardwood flooring industry. Even more ominously, these unfair trade practices present a fundamental, if not insurmountable, obstacle to the domestic industry's ability to recover its competitive footing, even when underlying economic conditions in this country turn more favorable.”

The group says that in addition to the hardwood plywood manufacturers, other U.S. companies in the value chain also are being impacted by the low pricing.

“Sustainably produced and quality certified American produced hardwood plywood that once earned a reasonable profit have been relegated to near-commodity status as Chinese companies ramp up production and exports to the United States, without much attention at all to quality, or environmental stewardship," Levin said. "Price trumps all else, so it's no wonder we consistently see the Chinese product undercutting the product made in the U.S.A. by 50 percent or more. Ultimately, everyone throughout U.S. commercial channels, up to and including the consumer, ultimately suffers.”

CFTHP said it expects a preliminary ruling and escrow deposit requirement to be implemented by spring 2013, with a final ruling and duty  implemented by late fall 2013.

In 2003,a successful antidumping petition was filed by residential furniture manufacturers and union groups against China with regards to bedroom furniture. Under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000, assessed antidumping or countervailing duties are distributed to the affected domestic producers that participated in that petition.

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