WASHINGTON - Members of the Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood (CFTHP) were heartened by the U.S. Department of Commerce's preliminary determination Tuesday to impose antidumping duties of either 22.14% or 63.96% on the vast majority of imported Chinese hardwood plywood.

U.S. Hardwood Plywood Makers Bolstered by DOC RulingIn a press release, the CFTHP stated "these rates will be added to the cash deposit requirements – 22.63 percent or 27.16 percent - already in place on the vast majority of imports from China that resulted from the previously announced preliminary countervailing duty determination."

The CFTHP said the duties would affect about 90% of Chinese hardwood plywood sold in the U.S. The DOC's decision would exempt two Chinese plywood producers. The coalition, comprised of plywood makers such as Columbia Forest Products, Roseburg and Timber Products, had filed an antidumping petition with the DOC last September seeking duties of nearly 300%, claiming Chinese hardwood plywood has been sold at unfairly low prices.

Jeff Levin, counsel for the CFTHP, said, “the Coalition’s petition, and the U.S. laws that address unfair trading, are not punitive but remedial. We are not looking to punish anyone. But, the fact remains that unfair trading, especially at the levels now found by the Commerce Department, is a scattering bane which ultimately inflicts every participant in the U.S. market. In this era of global competition, no one gains, at the end of the day, from an unfettered race to the bottom.”

An opposition group, the American Alliance of Hardwood Plywood (AAHP), which includes the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA), Northwest Hardwoods and 12 other wood importers, has formed to fight against the petition. The AAHP contends that the DOC's ruling will result in supply shortages and cost increases to U.S. manufacturers of cabinets, furniture, architectural woodwork and other products. The AAHP further claims the DOC's investigation has failed to prove that any of the companies received unfair trade subsidies from the Chinese government or were selling their products at unfairly low prices in the United States.

Both the countervailing dutry rates announced in Febrjary and new antidumping duty rates are preliminary and subject to final determination scheduled to be issued this September. The DOC will continue its investigation, including examining the validity of questionnaire responses submitted by Chinese plywood makers. DOC also will accept evidence and legal arguments from proponents and opponents of the antidumping petition.

The U.S. International Trade Commission(ITC)  estimated that $707.3 million worth of Chinese hardwood plywood was imported annually, representing about one-third of the total consumed in the U.S.

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