U.S. Commerce Department issues preliminary subsidy duties of up to 111 per cent on Chinese hardwood plywood imports

Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood
April 19, 2017
By Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood
April 19, 2017 - In the last 24 hours, the U.S. Department of Commerce preliminarily found that the Government of China unfairly subsidizes its hardwood plywood producers and imposed preliminary countervailing duties on Chinese hardwood plywood imports, ranging from 9.89 to 111.09 per cent for the mandatory respondents and 9.89 per cent for all other Chinese hardwood plywood producers.  The Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood, which filed this trade case, commends the Commerce Department for its hard work on this investigation thus far.

Today's determination by Commerce establishes the preliminary duty margins in the subsidies portion of the investigation.  Following the publication of Commerce's preliminary determination in the Federal Register, Commerce will instruct Customs and Border Protection to begin suspending liquidation and collect preliminary duties on entries of hardwood plywood from China, at the preliminary margin rates determined.  Commerce also made an affirmative preliminary determination of critical circumstances for all companies but Sanfortune.  If a final affirmative determination of critical circumstances is ultimately made, subsidy duties will apply to imports entered even earlier – as of Jan. 17, 2017.  

The Coalition notes that this is a preliminary ruling only. The investigations are ongoing, and additional subsidy programs have been alleged, which have not yet been fully investigated by the Department of Commerce and which are not reflected in today's determination. "The Coalition is confident that, by the time these investigations are concluded, the final margins will reflect the full amount of subsidies granted by the Chinese government to Chinese hardwood plywood producers," said Kip Howlett, president of the Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association (HPVA). The final determination is currently expected to be issued in early November 2017. 

In addition, the Coalition awaits the Commerce Department's preliminary and final determinations in the companion antidumping duty investigation of hardwood plywood from China, expected in June 2017 and November 2017, respectively.

"Today's preliminary finding of unfair subsidization is an important step in remedying the harm caused by unfairly traded imports of Chinese hardwood plywood," said Tim Brightbill, trade counsel to the Coalition. "U.S. hardwood plywood producers look forward to further relief when preliminary antidumping duties are announced in about two months."

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 Coalition's members include Columbia Forest Products, Commonwealth Plywood Inc., Murphy Plywood, Roseburg Forest Products Co., States Industries, Inc. and Timber Products Company. The law firm of Wiley Rein LLP is representing the Coalition in these investigations.

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