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Support Solicited to Oppose Duties on Chinese Vanities

BEVERLY HILLS, CA — A prominent Beverly Hills kitchen and bath designer is soliciting industry support in protest of the potential imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on wood cabinetry and vanities imported from China.

Christopher Grubb, an award-winning interior and product designer, recently contacted a network of kitchen and bath industry colleagues to support his efforts in fighting what Grubb called a “destructive petition” charging that unfair Chinese trade practices have resulted in a sharp increase in lower-cost Chinese cabinet imports that are seriously undermining the businesses of U.S. cabinet/vanity manufacturers.

The petition, currently under consideration by U.S. trade officials, is seeking the imposition of anti-dumping penalties on the Chinese, whose manufacturers and exporters benefit from government subsidies and other economic programs.

Grubb, who is president of the Beverly Hills-based design firm Arch-Interiors Design Group, also has a signature line of bathroom furniture, The C.G. Collection by Christopher Grubb, and recently spearheaded an endeavor in high-end products for interiors, Autograph by Christopher Grubb.

In recent years, moreover, Grubb has maintained a licensing arrangement for an imported vanity line with Modern Bathroom, a North Hollywood, CA-based supplier of bathroom products that manufactures its Grubb-licensed-and-designed vanity line in China.

Grubb said the anti-dumping duties, if approved by trade officials, “will affect my imported line – actually kill it.”

An attorney for Modern Bathroom, Grubb said, was among the parties testifying in March before U.S. trade officials in protest of the potential duties. The thrust of the protest, according to Grubb, is that the unfair-trade petition has grouped kitchen cabinetry together with vanities, despite the fact that the products, according to Grubb, are very different.

“A vanity, to me, is a freestanding piece of furniture – a “vanity in a box” that includes a counter and a sink,” Grubb said. Cabinetry, in contrast, “is when we provide a custom built-in.” Grouping the two products under one umbrella, Grubb argued, is “incorrect.”

If approved, the countervailing duties would make the majority of freestanding vanities out of reach for price-conscious consumers, Grubb predicted. Rising costs would, in turn, impact consumers’ desire to spend on other kitchen/bath products, including cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, lighting, hardware, appliances and accessories, he added.

Aside from threatening vanity sales, the duties would also have a “devastating” ripple effect on the industry, negatively impacting an abundance of trade professionals – designers, architects, wholesale showrooms, contractors, subcontractors, industry-related publications and trade shows, Grubb said.

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