AAHP: Despite Inflated Initial Duties, Plywood Trade Complaint Is Doomed

For Immediate Release from the American Alliance for Hardwood Plywood
April 19, 2017
Media Contact: Mike Burita
mike@buritamedia.com or 202.420.9361

AAHP:  Despite Inflated Initial Duties, Plywood Trade Complaint Is Doomed

Washington – The American Alliance for Hardwood Plywood (AAHP) expressed disappointment in yesterday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce (“DOC”) imposing preliminary countervailing duties of 9.89% on Chinese exporters of hardwood plywood.   Commerce separately applied a penalty margin of 111.09% to one Chinese company that did not fully cooperate with the investigation as well as companies that did not return the quantity and value questionnaire, likely because they do not export plywood.   The high duty figure is sure to be touted by the small group of domestic plywood producers to sow uncertainty and reduce the supply of a key raw material with no domestic equivalent that is needed by over 100,000 American workers making kitchen cabinets in the United States.  Those American workers, who outnumber domestic plywood employees by a ratio of more than 30 to 1, now face competition from imported cabinets that can utilize the unique Chinese plywood free from duties.

AAHP Chairman Greg Simon issued the following statement:

“The federal government has tied one arm behind the backs of the U.S. cabinet makers and other manufacturing industries by denying them a level playing field in raw material sourcing with their offshore competitors.   This case is presented as cracking down on Chinese trade ‘cheating’ and protecting American jobs but it will benefit nobody in the United States.  The cabinet industry, flooring, recreational vehicle and furniture industries use the Chinese plywood for different purposes than the U.S. plywood.  The petitioners’ dreams that they will enjoy sales increases are a fantasy, even with these high duties.  The government should not be in the business of trying to pick winners and losers.  In fact, in these trade cases, nobody wins.”

The AAHP defeated a similar unfair trade case brought by the same close-knit group of anti-competitive producers in 2012/13.   There, the DOC also announced combined antidumping and countervailing duties of nearly 150 percent.  Yet, the ITC threw the case out after a full investigation– by a unanimous ruling.  That unanimous ruling was later affirmed by a federal judge of the U.S. Court of International Trade.

“We will keep fighting the petitioners’ misguided claims, which have even less merit than they did in 2012.   While the DOC announcement of duties will gain headlines for the petitioners, ultimately they will mean nothing when the ITC throws this case out”, said Simon.

The AAHP is an alliance of small medium and large American importers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers of hardwood plywood and the U.S. Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, collectively representing more than 100,000 American jobs.  “We look forward to preserving American manufacturing jobs by defeating this bogus case again,” said Mr. Simon.

The American Alliance for Hardwood Plywood is an organization of American importers, distributors and manufacturers of hardwood plywood, along with other U.S. companies that depend on the availability of global resources.

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