Dear Secretary Napolitano:
I write today on behalf of one of Central New York's most iconic wooden furniture producers, Harden Furniture. As a result of a petition filed by this company and others in its industry, the Commerce Department imposed an antidumping duty on imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China in 2005. With my support, these duties were renewed by the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission in 2010.
Harden Furniture and their 250 New York employees face crippling competition from dumped imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China. The duties imposed on dumped imports have gone a long way towards protecting the remaining U.S. wooden furniture companies – including New York's Harden Furniture – from further harm, and in keeping manufacturing jobs in this industry in the United States. The duties remain necessary to protect these and other U.S. manufacturers, and their employees, from continuation or recurrence of economic injury.
Reports published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) pursuant to the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (“CDSOA”) demonstrate that hundreds of millions of dollars in antidumping duties on imports of wooden furniture from China remain uncollected. These amounts are likely to be understated because the uncollected duties reported by CBP do not include data for any uncollected duties for imports that entered after the CDSOA expired on October 1, 2007.
I understand that counsel to the wooden furniture producers attempted to obtain a summary of these antidumping duties that remain uncollected in order to assist CBP in identifying the relevant importer’s collectible assets, under a Freedom Of Information Act request, but that CBP’s FOIA officer informed counsel that CBP does not have a summary of the remaining uncollected duties and that CBP is not required to create such a summary in response to a FOIA request.
I remain concerned that CBP does not have a readily available summary of the current status of the uncollected duties. CBP has an obligation to use its best efforts to collect these duties. An obvious first step is to catalogue what remains outstanding and from whom – both for entries subject to the fees and those not subject to the fees. It strains credulity to suggest that CBP would not have such a report or could not promptly prepare one.
Again, I am hopeful that CBP will provide Harden and this industry with a summary of all the duties that remain uncollected under the order on wooden furniture from China, including the identities of the importers, the amounts owed by each importer to Harden, and the amount of time the duties owed by each importer have gone uncollected. In addition, please have CBP provide an explanation of the efforts made to date to collect these duties and CBP’s plan for future collection efforts.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter and do not hesitate to contact me as it relates to this request.
Charles E. Schumer
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.