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Trade Duties Slapped on Contested Ceramic Tile, Quartz Imports

WASHINGTON, DC — A pair of antidumping and countervailing duty investigations involving imports of ceramic tile and quartz surfacing products have reached a final resolution, with U.S. trade officials ruling that domestic suppliers have been materially injured by imports that now have been slapped with unfair-trade duties.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) last month issued final rulings in a pair of months-long probes involving ceramic tile from China and quartz surface products from India and Turkey, concurring with Commerce Dept. findings that exporters from the countries in question have been selling the contested imports at less-than-fair market value in the U.S. As a result of the rulings, Commerce Dept. officials have issued antidumping and countervailing duty orders on the contested imports.

Commerce Dept. officials several months ago had announced an affirmative preliminary determination in its antidumping duty investigation of ceramic tile imports from China, finding that Chinese exporters have “dumped” ceramic tile in the U.S. at unfair prices. As a result of that decision, trade officials instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from Chinese ceramic tile importers based on preliminary rates ranging from 114.49% to 356.02%.

Commerce officials had also announced a determination in the antidumping duty investigations of quartz surface imports from India and Turkey, finding that exporters from those countries sold the imports at less than fair value in the U.S. As a result of that decision, trade officials instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of quartz surface products based on preliminary rates of up to 5.05% from India and up to 4.88% from Turkey.

The Commerce Dept. action in the hotly contested ceramic tile case was the result of an unfair-trade petition filed in April, 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.

Investigations into quartz surface imports from India and Turkey were initiated last year as a result of an unfair-trade petition filed by Cambria Company, the Le Sueur, MN-based supplier of engineered quartz surface products. Cambria has also battled successfully against quartz imports from China.

The Chinese tile imports in question totaled some $624.4 million in 2018, 17.6% of the estimated $3.5-billion domestic market, according to government figures. Leading import sources, aside from China, include Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Spain. Imports from those countries were not affected by the ITC and Commerce Dept. rulings. Leading quartz surface import sources, aside from India and Turkey, include Spain, Vietnam and Israel.

The pair of unfair-trade investigations mirror a similar government probe involving Chinese imports of wooden cabinets and vanities. In that recently resolved landmark case, the ITC ruled unanimously that the U.S. cabinet industry has been “materially injured” by Chinese imports of wooden cabinets and vanities – a ruling that affirmed a Commerce Dept. finding that the imports were being subsidized and sold in the U.S. at less-than-fair market value, and paved the way for trade officials to impose stiff antidumping and countervailing duty orders on the imports.

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