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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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DOC reduces preliminary dumping rates, admits ‘significant ministerial errors’ in initial decision

HICKSVILLE, N.Y.—Following an error review request by Samling Group, one of the three mandatory companies in the ongoing federal investigation concerning allegations of engineered wood flooring dumping, the Department of Commerce (DOC) admitted to making “certain significant ministerial errors” in its preliminary determination in setting tariff rates (FCNews, May 30/June 6). Continue reading DOC reduces preliminary dumping rates, admits ‘significant ministerial errors’ in initial decision

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DOC ruling has both sides claiming victories—again

HICKSVILLE, N.Y.—The Department of Commerce (DOC) on May 20 came down with its latest preliminary ruling in the federal case against Chinese suppliers of engineered wood floors by some U.S. flooring manufacturers. This one dealt with the antidumping (AD) duty investigation part of the case. In late March, it gave its preliminary determination in the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation.

And like the initial ruling (FCNews, April 4/11), both sides took positives from the decision, followed by caution that this was only a preliminary ruling and things could change by the time the government issues its final rulings later this year. Continue reading DOC ruling has both sides claiming victories—again

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Petitioners submit formal allegations of “targeted dumping” in wood flooring investigation

Washington—In advance of the preliminary antidumping determination next month, the Coalition for American Hardwood Parity (CAHP), petitioners in the unfair trade investigation of Multilayered Wood Flooring from China, have submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce formal allegations of “targeted dumping” against the three mandatory respondents in this proceeding (Zhejiang Layo Industry Co., the Samling Group, and Zhejiang Yuhua Timber Co). As the dumping margins calculated for most other Chinese producers are calculated on the basis of the margins assigned to these mandatory respondents, the new allegations will impact the majority of imports of the product from China. Continue reading Petitioners submit formal allegations of “targeted dumping” in wood flooring investigation

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Both sides see positives from initial ITC/DOC ruling

HICKSVILLE, N.Y.—When news of the first preliminary ruling in the federal case against Chinese suppliers of engineered wood floor was heard at the Domotex asia/ChinaFloor (DACF) market in Shanghai, China, last month, a large sigh of relief could be felt in the numerous halls housing exhibitors of these types of products. At the same time, those who filed the original petition asking the government to investigate their claims of dumping and unfair competition proclaimed a positive result. Continue reading Both sides see positives from initial ITC/DOC ruling