WASHINGTON, DC — Imports of ceramic tile, quartz surfaces and hardwood plywood are the latest kitchen-and-bath-related products to be slapped with protective duties in an ongoing series of decisions announced by U.S. trade officials late last year.
Final decisions in the cases, each of which alleges unfair-trading practices by government-subsidized overseas product suppliers – including companies from China, India and Turkey – are expected to be announced as early as this month, along with a decision in a case involving Chinese imports of wooden cabinets and vanities (see related feature article).
What follows is a synopsis of the governmental trade decisions announced late in 2019:
The U.S. Commerce Dept. announced an affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty investigation of imports of ceramic tile from China, finding that Chinese exporters have “dumped” ceramic tile in the U.S. at less-than-fair value.
As a result of the decision, trade officials instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to collect cash deposits from Chinese ceramic tile importers based on preliminary rates ranging from 114.49% to 356.02%. Imports of ceramic tile from China were valued at an estimated $481.3 million in 2018, according to government figures.
The Commerce Dept.’s action is the result of an unfair-trade petition filed in 2019 by the “Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile,” an alliance of manufacturers that includes American Wonder Porcelain, Crossville, Inc., Dal-Tile Corp., Del Conca USA, Florida Tile, Florim USA, Landmark Ceramics and StonePeak Ceramics.
The Commerce Dept. is scheduled to announce a final determination in the case by March 23. If Commerce’s final determination is affirmative, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will make a final injury determination by May 4.
The Commerce Dept. announced affirmative preliminary determinations in the antidumping duty investigations of quartz surface imports from India and Turkey, finding that exporters from those countries sold the imports in the U.S. at less-than-fair value.
As a result of the decision, trade officials instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to collect cash deposits from importers of quartz surface products from India and Turkey based on preliminary rates of up to 5.05% from India and up to 4.88% from Turkey, the Commerce Dept. said.
Governmental investigations into quartz surface imports from India and Turkey were initiated as a result of an unfair-trade petition filed last year by Cambria, the Le Sueur, MN-based supplier of quartz products. In 2018, imports of quartz surface products from India and Turkey were valued at an estimated $69.5 million and $28 million, respectively, according to government figures.
The Commerce Dept. is scheduled to announce a final determination in the case on or about Feb. 19. If Commerce’s final determinations are affirmative, the ITC will make a final injury determination by April 3.
The Commerce Dept. announced affirmative final antidumping duty and countervailing duty circumvention rulings involving imports of hardwood plywood products from China, finding that hardwood and decorative plywood with veneers made of certain types of softwood circumvent existing orders and are subject to penalties.
Commerce Dept. officials instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to continue to collect antidumping and countervailing cash deposits on imports of hardwood plywood produced with face and back veneers of radiata and/or agathis pine. The products in question are commonly used for a wide range of structural and decorative applications, including many in cabinet manufacturing.
The circumvention inquiry resulted from an unfair-trade petition filed by the “Coalition for Fair Trade in Hardwood Plywood,” a four-company alliance consisting of board product suppliers Columbia Forest Products, Commonwealth Plywood, States Industries and Timber Products Company.
The duties will be imposed on future imports and on any unliquidated entries since Sept. 18, 2019, the Commerce Dept. said, adding that the imports in question were valued at an estimated $96 million in 2018.