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Industry responds to latest ITC antidumping ruling

June 9/16, 2014; Volume 27/Number 29

ITCWashington, D.C.—Antidumping duties were raised for 70 Chinese companies involved in the years-long engineered hardwood flooring dispute with the International Trade Commission (ITC), as their tariffs increased from 3.30% to 5.74%.

However, Armstrong, whose products are made by Kunshan Yingyi-Nature Wood Industry Co., and a second company, Nanjing Minglin Wooden Industry Co., saw its assessment rates drop to zero.

As a “mandatory respondent,” Armstrong provided information at the behest of the Commerce Department as part of its investigation. “It was previously our intention that the rates assessed to Armstrong were incorrectly assessed and we should not be penalized with antidumping or countervailing duties,” Milton Goodwin, vice president of hardwood products for Armstrong World Industries, told FCNews. “We are unique in that we are the only U.S. company to have 100% ownership—there are no subsidies provided to us by any Chinese agency—of our plant in China, and we do not ‘dump’ our products into the U.S.”

Goodwin called the ruling “a fair assessment of our position.”

Companies that did not submit paperwork for the case—a mere handful, according to one executive—were assessed a rate of 58.84%.

The companies whose duties were raised were accused of dumping flooring into the U.S. at less than fair market value, thus undercutting domestic producers.

This is the latest development in a more than three-year dispute that began when the Coalition for American Hardwood Parity (CAHP), a group of U.S. manufacturers of engineered wood flooring, filed a petition with the Commerce Department requesting an investigation into unfair trade practices on the part of Chinese manufacturers. The petition asserted that U.S. manufacturers have suffered “material competitive injury” as a result of government-subsidized Chinese companies selling products below the market rate. The petition requested the U.S. government apply antidumping and countervailing duties of 100% on engineered wood flooring imports from China to “restore competitive parity in the U.S. market.”

Dan Natkin, director, hardwood and laminate for Mannington, said the largest issue remains the way the rate is determined through surrogate countries. “Some recent changes to [Commerce Department] policy may affect this in a greater manner next year,” he said. “To address the rate specifically, for any company whose rate rose in this first annual review, the incremental amount (2.24%) is retroactively liable to day one of the order (December 2011). The second annual review process is now in full swing with anticipated results around May of next year.”

Michael Martin, president and CEO of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), said, “In terms of our position, we support a level playing field.”

One U.S.-based executive who sources products from China said the way the system is currently set up “helps the domestic producers put up a fairly major barrier against imports.”

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Antidumping and countervailing duty orders: Frequently Asked Questions

The following was sent in a release on behalf  of the Coalition for American Hardwood Parity.

On Nov. 9, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a final affirmative determination in the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of Multilayered Wood Flooring (MLWF) from China. This determination confirmed that imports of engineered wood flooring from China are being illegally dumped into the U.S. and are causing harm to the domestic industry. To assist the marketplace in understanding what this may mean, below are some frequently asked questions and answers. Continue reading Antidumping and countervailing duty orders: Frequently Asked Questions

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ITC votes in favor of U.S. petitioners

HICKSVILLE, N.Y.—One year after a group of U.S. engineered wood flooring manufacturers filed a federal unfair trade petition against Chinese imports, the International Trade Commission (ITC) voted to uphold the antidumping and countervailing duties set by the Department of Commerce (DOC) last month.

The result of this action means imports from all but one Chinese manufacturer—Zhejiang Yuhua Timber Co.—are not only subject to the DOC rates, they may have to pay additional fees a year or more later as the duties can be retroactively adjusted for as long as the government feels harm is being done to U.S. manufacturers. Continue reading ITC votes in favor of U.S. petitioners

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Industry awaits ITC’s vote in antidumping case

HICKSVILLE, N.Y.—No matter which side of the fence you sit on, two dates this year will be looked upon as part of one historic event for the industry, specifically those dealing with engineered wood.

The first of those was Oct. 12. That was when the Department of Commerce (DOC) announced its final rates with regard to its investigation in the Chinese antidumping wood case, as well as when the International Trade Commission (ITC) was holding its final public hearing on the matter (FCNews, Oct. 10/17). Continue reading Industry awaits ITC’s vote in antidumping case