A press release from the Alliance for Free Choice and Jobs in Flooring (AFCJF), reminds participants that law requires return of completed ITC questionnaires by August 10. Failure to return your questionnaire could result in a subpoena of your records.
“If you receive an ITC questionnaire,” said Jonathan Train, AFCJF president, “you are required by law to complete and return it by August 10. It is not optional. Failure to do so not only invites non-compliance penalties but also “suggests to the ITC a lack of interest by our industry,” Train said.
The ITC requires information on total purchases of all Chinese products, received both directly from China (as an importer, consignee or other direct delivery) and indirectly. Since many US companies such as Mannington, Armstrong, etc., sell both imported and domestically produced product under their brands, customers will need to ask for a breakdown of product origin and if the product came from a Mandatory Respondent in order to accurately complete the questionnaire.
The 73 companies on the Separate Rate List and the three Mandatories all provided names of their major customers, including both importers of record and consignees of record. Train explained, “It’s likely that if you received any quantity of container load volume in 2010, you [should have] received a questionnaire. Additionally, importers were requested to complete questionnaires early in the case, in which their major customers were listed. As a result, most distributors and large retailers may also have received forms.”
Foreign producers and U.S. domestic manufacturers are also required to complete questionnaires about their production capacity and markets.
Train cautioned that, “The information requested is complicated and it is likely necessary for you to talk to your suppliers, particularly if they mix product from different countries under one brand. Don’t let it get buried on your desk. To submit it by August 10, you need to start working on it now.”
Train also emphasized that “All responses are kept completely confidential by law and are seen by no one within the industry; they are reviewed only by ITC personnel.”
The International Trade Commission (ITC) is sending questionnaires to various segments of the industry this week. The ITC Questionnaire states:
“The information requested in the questionnaire is requested under the authority of the Tariff Act of 1930, title VII. This report is mandatory and failure to reply as directed can result in a subpoena or other order to compel the submission of the records or information in your possession.”
Train noted that “The questionnaires focus on statistical information, but companies are welcome to provide a cover letter with additional commentary or make additional notes directly on the questionnaire. Any company that wishes to provide an example as to why they chose a specific product, or explain how certain features matter to their customers, may provide as much additional information as they desire.
Train concluded, “If you received a questionnaire, you must complete and submit it by August 10. The Alliance exists to support the US industry and help them understand the requirements of the case and now these questionnaires. We understand that many companies are stuck in the middle, not sure whether to join us for the final push to get this case dismissed this fall. But we feel the choice is simple: Either we stop this case dead in its tracks now or resign ourselves to up to 30 years of further harassment and the domination of the industry by a few large corporations.”
For additional information, companies can contact us via afcjf.com.