Seattle—“It was confirmed the Department of Commerce (DOC) made significant errors during their original complex calculation process,” relayed Jonathan Train, president of Alliance for Free Choice and Jobs in Flooring (AFCJF). “Correct calculations have resulted in assigning a zero for Samling, 6.78% for the over 70 companies on the Separate Rates List and 27.12% for the small number of imports affected by the country wide rate. These rates are in effect until October.”
Samling requested the DOC review their preliminary antidumping rate, alleging three ministerial errors. Samling was the only one of the three Mandatories not assigned a zero rate at original preliminary finding in May.
“We are very pleased that the DOC has now recognized that there was zero dumping by all three Mandatories,” Train continued. “Commerce had total discretion to amend the various other AD rates after the correction of clerical errors that sent the Samling rate down from 10.88% to zero, and they used that discretion to produce a result where almost all flooring imports will be subject to either 0% or less than 10% additional duties (total for CVD and AD together) until the Fall.
“This is further affirmation that the Petitioner’s initial allegations were wildly inaccurate and erroneous. After extensive investigation, the DOC has yet to find any evidence of significant dumping or subsidies. We believe that these findings will help demonstrate to the International Trade Commission (ITC) that they should dismiss the case in the Fall.”
He added that three of the largest producers in China are able to export at a zero rate to some of the largest companies in the US. “Therefore, the Alliance feels that it is more important than ever for the health of the overall industry that the case gets dismissed in the Fall. We feel it is necessary for all companies, large and small, to compete on a level playing field, so we are focusing now on getting ‘A Zero for Everyone.’
“The Alliance has begun a new round of recruiting and fund raising, including scheduling an industry-wide conference call on June 29,” Train affirmed. “We plan to make a strong presentation at the ITC final hearing in October and demonstrate that punitive duties will only hurt the American flooring industry.”
The Coalition for American Hardwood Parity (CAHP) believes that the adjustments made by the Department of Commerce regarding its preliminary determination in the antidumping investigation of Multilayered Wood Flooring from China stems from the same methodological flaws—including issues regarding the selection of a proper surrogate country— that permeated the initial ruling. For this reason, the amended determination is not surprising.
However, as the Coalition noted when the initial ruling was announced, and as holds equally true now, the rates assigned in the preliminary antidumping determination were based on data most favorable to the Chinese producers. According to Jeff Levin, counsel for the CAHP, “At the end of the day, after additional factual information is brought to light, after verification and briefings are completed and the final dumping margins are calculated, the CAHP fully expects the final rates to be substantially higher than the margins just issued.” The CAHP has in hand data and information not yet considered by the Commerce Department which it has strong reason to believe will greatly alter the preliminary calculations and which calls into serious question the accuracy of some of the information presented by the Chinese producers.
Notwithstanding the revised preliminary margins, it must be noted that the vast majority of multilayered wood flooring has been found in the preliminary determination to have been dumped in the U.S. market. While the reduction in the preliminary rates may be touted as some sort of victory for Chinese manufacturers and traders hoping to maintain their supply line to Chinese imports, the fact remains that unfair trading on the scale encompassed by the preliminary determination stands as an intrinsic threat to U.S. manufacturing. While the CAHP understands there are some elements within the U.S. market that is beholden to the axiom that “cheap is good, regardless of whether it is fair or not,” that is not a foundation on which the competitive viability of American manufacturing can long survive.