Washington – The American Alliance for Hardwood Plywood (AAHP) reacted today to the fake news video released by six giant plywood corporations and their politicians at the National Press Club. The slick video cannot hide the fact that the petitioners’ actions hurt the more than 100,000 American cabinet makers, furniture makers, home builders and RV producers that rely on both imported plywood and domestic plywood because they are physically different and always have been. The U.S. International Trade Commission previously investigated and unanimously rejected the petitioners’ identical claims, a ruling that was upheld by a federal judge. Now, when neither the facts nor the law support their misguided effort to restrict supply and limit choice, the petitioners roll out a dramatic and misleading video.
“The petitioners have sunk to a new low. This kind of media event and slick Hollywood video confirm that they know their case is weak,” said AAHP Chairman Greg Simon. “Nothing can hide the fact that the petitioners’ case is disrupting the market and harming manufacturing jobs in downstream industries.”
AAHP dissected the fake news put forth by the petitioners at today’s event to separate myths from facts:
MYTH: The petitioners allege that thousands of plywood jobs are being harmed by “Chinese cheating.” Mr. Thompson, Columbia Forest Products’ CEO, said in the press conference that “our industry has contracted.” The petitioners’ lawyer spoke of “fewer workers” and “fewer hours worked.”
FACTS: This is patently false. The U.S. International Trade Commission found that domestic plywood production worker jobs increased from 2300 in 2013 to 2391 in 2015. This is not slick talk from a public relations firm, a politician, or a high-priced Washington law firm. It is in Table C-1 from the U.S. International Trade Commission’s investigation in this case which can be found here: https://www.usitc.gov/publications/701_731/pub4661.pdf . That same government report confirms that wages paid to plywood workers increased from $18.20/hour to $19.43/hour and hours worked increased by 6.7 percent during the same period.
MYTH: The petitioners’ slick video suggests that the domestic plywood industry is heading downhill.
FACTS: This is also not true. Back in the 2012 case, the number of workers was under 2000 and production was roughly 25% lower than it is today. The ITC’s official findings from the last case are summarized at Table C-1 here: https://www.usitc.gov/publications/701_731/pub4434.pdf. The plywood industry is better off than it was the last time they brought, and lost, this case.
MYTH: If the petitioners’ case succeeds, they will enjoy increased sales and profits.
FACTS: The domestic industry does not make the type of plywood from China and other import sources. Their raw materials and production process is not suited to it. Imports from other countries are already larger than China and will replace Chinese plywood over time. The petitioners will reap no benefit. They will only harm other American manufacturers.
MYTH: The petitioners have a legitimate case.
FACTS: 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 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. Now the petitioners are back and the case seeks to tie one arm behind the back of the U.S. cabinet makers, furniture makers, and other manufacturing industries by denying them a level playing field in raw material sourcing with their offshore competitors.
“We will keep fighting the petitioners’ misguided claims, which have even less merit than they did in 2012. No video with scary music can change the facts. The U.S. International Trade Commission is staffed by professional career economists and investigators who will not be tricked by slick videos or statements by politicians,” 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.