New Chinese Import Penalties by Trade Officials Applauded by U.S. Cabinet Firms

WASHINGTON, DC — A coalition of major U.S. cabinet suppliers is applauding a decision by trade officials to proceed with the imposition of stiff antidumping trading penalties on Chinese imports of wooden cabinets, vanities and components.

Reaction by the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance (AKCA) came after the U.S. Commerce Dept. last month issued an affirmative preliminary determination in its ongoing antidumping duty investigation, finding that Chinese exporters of wooden cabinets, vanities and components have “dumped” the products in the U.S. at margins ranging from 4.49% to 262.18%.

As a result of the decision, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were instructed to collect cash deposits from Chinese cabinet importers based on the preliminary duty rates. The antidumping duties are in addition to countervailing duties that have been in effect since August.

The 50-member AKCA, formed this year to challenge unfair trading practices by Chinese cabinet exporters, praised the Commerce Dept. decision as an “important continuation of the work to address unfairly traded Chinese imports of wooden cabinets and vanities.”

The AKCA, which has close ties to the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA), filed an unfair-trade petition in March at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the Commerce Dept., charging that unfairly traded Chinese imports of wooden cabinets – valued at an estimated $4.4 billion in 2018, and allegedly subsidized by the Chinese government – pose an existential threat to the $9.5-billion U.S. cabinet trade. Since then, both agencies have been conducting separate, parallel investigations into the matter.

Last month’s Commerce Dept. decision “allows the American kitchen cabinet industry to keep fighting against the unfairness of China’s trade practices,” said Mark Trexler, president and CEO of AKCA member Master WoodCraft. “The Commerce Dept. clearly understands the importance of this issue and the need to keep working to create an even playing field.”

“This is a good next step in the process of leveling the playing field for American manufacturers, and we look forward to the final determinations,” added Perry Miller, president of Kountry Wood Products. “The Commerce Dept. determination makes it possible to move forward and continue to fight for our workers and for American jobs.”

Antidumping and countervailing duty laws provide U.S. companies’ businesses with a mechanism to seek relief from the effects of the unfair pricing of imports into the U.S. Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to antidumping duties. Companies that receive unfair subsidies from their governments – such as grants, loans, equity infusions, tax breaks or production inputs – are subject to countervailing duties aimed at directly countering those subsidies.

The Commerce Department is expected to issue a final determination in the investigation on or about Feb. 17, 2020, U.S. officials said. If Commerce’s final determination is affirmative, the ITC will be scheduled to make a final injury determination on or about March 30, 2020.

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