Next Hearing in China Trade Investigation Approaches

(NWFA) On Oct. 12, the International Trade Commission (ITC) will hold a second hearing for testimony in the U.S.’s antidumping and countervailing investigation of engineered wood flooring from China.

During this hearing, both sides in the investigation will make their last plea in an attempt to sway the ITC in its final decision on whether to give the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) a green light to institute tariffs on engineered wood flooring from China. The matter was originally brought to the ITC by the Coalition for American Hardwood Parity (CAHP), whose members feel this product from China is being unfairly traded in the U.S. and that it is costing their businesses material damage. However, these petitioners are not unopposed.

On the other side of the matter are select importers, distributors and retailers that feel their business in China is threatened by increased tariffs sought by the CAHP. Some of these companies have banded together to form the Alliance for Free Choice & Jobs in Flooring (AFCJF).

It’s expected that the ITC will make a final ruling in the case in November. If the ITC rules for the CAHP, the DOC will institute antidumping and countervailing duties that will stay in effect for the next 30 years. Also, import duties in the U.S. are primarily retroactive, meaning that if DOC does end up imposing duties, an importer could face a sudden jump in the amount owed a year or two after making a shipment of engineered wood flooring from China. But there is a chance the ITC will rule in favor of the AFCJF and other importers, in which case the antidumping and countervailing duties will be dropped.

Until then, the wood flooring industry will look ahead to Oct. 12. Also on that date, the DOC will hand down another revised determination for antidumping and countervailing duties. Wood flooring importers of record will pay these tariffs until the ITC makes a final determination in November.

Right now, the majority of engineered wood flooring imported from China is subject to a preliminary countervailing duty of about 2.25 percent or lower and a preliminary antidumping duty of about 6.78 percent or lower, figures that have been in effect since March and June, respectively.

The hearing at the ITC (500 E. Street Southwest, Washington, D.C.) will begin at 9:30 a.m. and is open to the public. Both the petitioners and respondents will provide testimony and then answer questions offered by the ITC. The DOC is expected to announce its final duties after noon, according to the AFCJF.