Woodworking Network: Bipartisan letter calls on ITC to address Chinese cabinetry import allegations

WOODWORKING NETWORK, KAREN KOENIG

Led by U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, a bipartisan group of congressmen has called for the International Trade Commission to enforce U.S. trade laws “and protect the American cabinet and vanity industry from alleged Chinese dumping of kitchen cabinets across the U.S. market.”

In a Feb. 5 letter sent to ITC Chairman David S. Johanson, Spanberger (D-VA) and 40 members of Congress expressed their support for American wooden cabinet and vanity manufacturers and their employees. Spanberger also urged the ITC to make sure U.S. trade remedy laws are fully enforced when examining instances of Chinese kitchen cabinet dumping.

Referenced in the letter is the significant rise in Chinese cabinetry imports since 2015 – a more than 75 percent increase – resulting in lost jobs, market share and billions of dollars, by U.S. producers. “The domestic cabinet and vanity industry represents more than 250,000 American jobs. For many small towns, the cabinet industry—including manufacturing and decorative laminate products—is the largest source of employment,” the letter states. “When facilities are closed due to unfair trade practices, our communities and our workers suffer. We appreciate the Commission’s work to date on this important matter and urge the Commission to ensure U.S. trade remedy laws are fully enforced.”

Spanberger, who led the letter alongside U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN), said she heard directly from Central Virginia cabinet manufacturers about the negative impacts of Chinese kitchen cabinet imports into the United States.

“I speak on behalf of everyone at American Woodmark when I say that we applaud and thank Representative Spanberger for her help ensuring American Woodmark jobs stay in the Seventh District of Virginia,” said Cary Dunston, chairman and CEO, American Woodmark Corp. “This is a difficult time for domestic cabinet manufacturers, and the unwavering support Representative Spanberger has provided will help us make strides toward a fair marketplace.”

The antidumping and countervailing investigations stem from a March 6, 2019, petition by the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance which claimed China’s “manipulation and unfair trade practices” has resulted in a significant rise of the Chinese cabinetry imports, creating a threat to the estimated $9.6 billion American industry. The scope of the petition covers both face-frame and frameless cabinets, made of solid wood and composite panel construction, RTA cabinetry, cabinetry components including doors, drawers, back and end panels, as well as desks, shelves, and tables that are attached to or incorporated in the merchandise.

The petition has been countered by the American Coalition of Cabinet Distributors, a group made up of U.S. distributors, dealers, contractors, installers and importers, which claims imposition of the proposed duties could significantly impact the RTA option from the U.S. marketplace.

On Oct. 3, 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced an affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty investigation, with preliminary duties ranging from 4.49 to 262.18 percent. The Commerce Department is expected to issue its final determination later this month. If affirmative, the ITC is scheduled to make its final injury determination on or about March 30.

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