PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Producers Fight Back Against Surge of Chinese Hardwood Plywood Imports to the U.S. Prior to Trade OrdersMarch 23, 2017
Washington DC— The Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood has filed “critical circumstances” petitions with the Department of Commerce, to stop a recent surge of Chinese hardwood plywood imports into the United States, in an illegal attempt to flood the market before the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duty orders.
The Coalition’s action means that, if successful, antidumping and countervailing duties will be imposed 90 days earlier than usual, subjecting Chinese hardwood plywood imports to duties of up to 100 percent or more.
Commerce’s preliminary determination in the countervailing duty case and antidumping case are due no later than April 17, 2017, and June 16, 2017, respectively. This means that if critical circumstances are found, Chinese hardwood plywood imported as early as January 17, 2017 will be subject to countervailing duties, and Chinese hardwood plywood imported as early as March 16, 2017 will be subject to antidumping duties.
“Chinese manufacturers and U.S. importers and purchasers are now on notice – they face duties on any imports since January,” said Tim Brightbill, trade counsel to the Coalition. “The Chinese industry should not be allowed to undermine much-needed relief to the U.S. industry and its workers.”
The investigations are currently being conducted by the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission (ITC) into unfairly traded imports of hardwood plywood from China. Chinese producers and exporters are rushing huge volumes of hardwood plywood exports to the United States prior to the imposition of duties which may result from the cases.
In January 2017, Chinese imports of hardwood plywood were higher than in nearly every single month of 2016—an increase of more than 35 percent from January 2016 levels. During a previous investigation of hardwood plywood, importers disclosed that they did not switch to U.S.-produced hardwood plywood while the last case was pending because they “beefed up [their] supply… chain before the duties went into effect.” Importers are now using similar tactics, which is evident from the surge in unfairly traded imports from China. For example, in its March 2017 earnings announcement, one leading U.S. importer specifically noted that it has “increased [its] inventory balances and positioned [itself] to respond in the event significant changes occur” as a result of the ongoing trade cases.
Based on this new evidence submitted by U.S. producers, Commerce will now evaluate the “critical circumstances” claim and, should the agencies make affirmative determinations, duties will be imposed retroactively to cover Chinese imports entered in the period starting 90 days prior to the preliminary determination.
The antidumping and countervailing duty cases were filed on behalf of the Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood, a group of six producers and manufacturers that are committed to safeguarding the U.S. hardwood plywood industry and its thousands of workers. The law firm of Wiley Rein LLP is representing the Coalition in these investigations.
For more information, please contact:
Timothy C. Brightbill
 The ITC has already made an affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping and countervailing duty cases, and Commerce’s preliminary determinations, and both agencies’ final determinations, are expected in the coming months.