Import Ruling Termed ‘Huge Win’ by U.S Cabinet Suppliers

by Anita Shaw

RESTON, VA — A recent decision by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials that the import firm BGI Group evaded antidumping and countervailing duty orders on wooden cabinets, vanities and components from China represents “a huge win” for domestic cabinet suppliers, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association said last month.

The Jan. 27 ruling by Customs subjects “a significant portion of imports of wooden cabinets from Vietnam” to tariffs ranging as high as 83.89%, the KCMA said. At the same time, Customs’ decision “affirms the important principle that combining Chinese merchandise with components from other countries does not remove the merchandise from the scope of AD/CVD duties,” the Reston VA-based KCMA added.

“This determination should serve as a strong deterrent to others that are currently or considering evading AD/CVD orders imposed in April of 2020,” said KCMA CEO Betsy Natz. “Those orders have been instrumental in revitalizing the U.S. cabinet industry, and it is critical that they are strictly enforced.”

“This final affirmative determination represents a major milestone in efforts to address illegal evasion,” Natz added.

According to the KCMA, the case in question began with an assertion that BGI Group, doing business as U.S. Cabinet Depot, was skirting AD/CVD duties by importing RTA cabinets from Vietnam without declaring that the cabinets incorporated Chinese-made components. The American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance (AKCA), through its legal counsel Schagrin Associates, then submitted a formal allegation to Customs officials under the U.S. Enforce and Protect Act, alleging that Chinese-made cabinet doors, frames and boxes were being incorporating into RTA cabinets that were subsequently imported to the U.S. by a Chinese affiliate in Vietnam, the KCMA said. Customs’ officials ultimately rejected the argument that the Chinese components should not be covered by AD/CVD orders because the components had been further processed in Vietnam, the KCMA added.

Customs’ action against BGI Group will subject “a huge volume of Chinese cabinets to the AD/CVD duties that should have been paid,” the KCMA said, adding that the importer in question may ultimately be liable for “millions of dollars in unpaid duties.”

Efforts by Kitchen & Bath Design News to reach a U.S. Cabinet Depot spokesperson for comment were unsuccessful.

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