U.S. producers seek duties on Chinese-made cabinets, vanities

Group cites injury to U.S. industry from unfair pricing, plant subsidization

WASHINGTON – A group of domestic cabinet manufacturers has filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission that seeks antidumping and countervailing duties of up to nearly 260% on Chinese-made wooden cabinets and vanities used in conjunction with plumbing and other fixtures.

While the March 6 petition primarily addresses kitchen cabinets, it also deals with cabinets used in bathrooms, including vanities that are built to accommodate sinks, faucets and other plumbing. According to the petition, these units include modular vanities and pedestal vanities that may or may not have a top made of stone, plastic or other material.

According to the scope description, wood cabinets or vanities are covered by the investigation “whether or not they are imported, attached to or in conjunction with faucets, metal plumbing, sinks and/or sink bowls or countertops.” It goes on to state that “if wooden cabinets or vanities are imported, attached to, or in conjunction with such merchandise, only the wooden cabinet or vanity is covered by the scope.”

The group filing the petition on behalf of the domestic industry is the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance, which includes more than two dozen manufacturers representing just over 66% of the domestic industry. The group claims that Chinese manufacturers have been selling these products into the U.S. market at unfair pricing that has negatively affected or injured the domestic industry.

Based on its analysis, the group estimates dumping margins on these products that range from 175.5% to 259.99%, with an average margin of 216.04%.

“Being forced to compete with imports dumped at this magnitude clearly have a negative effect on the domestic industry’s financial situation and overall health,” the petition states.

The antidumping petition addresses pricing of the imports, while a separate countervailing duty measure would address the subsidization of Chinese factories by the Chinese government.

Washington-based law firm Mowry & Grimson posted an alert this week about the petition. While the firm did not comment directly on the matter, the alert said that in addition to allegations the Chinese imports are being dumped at margins up to 259.99%, the petitioners allege that the Chinese wooden cabinet and vanity industry receives countervailable subsidies from 38 individual government programs.

According to the petition, imports of the cabinets and vanities from China rose nearly 20% between January and November 2016 to January through November 2018, which it said has taken substantial market share from the domestic industry.

The total annual value of imports cited in the petition is estimated at nearly $4 billion in the January through November period of 2018. This is up from $3.62 billion from the same period in 2017.

“Thus, the increase in Chinese import volume and the increase in Chinese imports’ market share are both significant,” the petition states. “The surge of Chinese imports also affected the profitability of the domestic industry, causing it to decline even during a period of growing demand (and) rendering U.S. producers vulnerable to injury should Chinese imports continue to enter the United States at current or increasing rates.”

According to Mowry & Grimson, the ITC will hold its first hearing on the matter around March 27 in Washington.

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