FRA members include: Rooms To Go, JCPenney's, Havertys, Crate & Barrel, The
Bombay Company, City Furniture, Rhodes Furniture, and other national, regional
and small retailers.
The U.S. International Trade Commission will
issue a preliminary decision today in the antidumping case
on whether there is a reasonable indication that domestic
producers of wooden bedroom furniture have been "materially
injured" as a result of imports from China. The petitioners
are seeking duties as high as 440% on imports of wooden
bedroom furniture, which, in turn, could cause retail stores
major supply disruptions, and their customers short term
price volatility, as well as limit their access to
affordable wooden bedroom sets.
"U.S. retailer jobs may be lost and U.S.
consumers will face major disruptions -- with price, choices
and quality in the short term"
Mike Veitenheimer, FRA Spokesperson
large and small furniture U.S. retailers warned today that an
antidumping petition filed by a group of domestic furniture
manufacturers to cut off access to Chinese bedroom furniture
imports would have severe consequences for the U.S. retail
consumers, and announced the formation of the
Furniture Retailers of America (FRA) coalition to fight the
ill-conceived and damaging petition filed with the International
Trade Commission (ITC).
The announcement followed today's ITC
preliminary vote that found a reasonable indication that the
domestic industry of wooden bedroom furniture has been
"materially injured" as a result of imports from China.
Petitioners are seeking duties as high as 440 percent.
"This petition is a brazen and hypocritical
attempt by some domestic furniture companies to use the U.S.
government to manipulate the bedroom furniture market in their
favor, at the expense of American consumers and independent
furniture retail stores," said Mike Veitenheimer, FRA
Spokesperson and Vice President and General Counsel for The
Bombay Company. "Claiming that the petition against China will
'save American jobs' is simply not true. Instead, the short term
price disruptions and product shortages are almost certain to
adversely affect sales of bedroom furniture leading to job
losses for retail company employees. Our coalition of retailers
has come together to fight this petition in order to protect our
customers and employees."
Over 60 retail companies throughout the U.S.
have joined the FRA to date, including such widely popular
national furniture stores as Rooms To Go, JCPenney's, Havertys,
Crate & Barrel, The Bombay Company, City Furniture, and Rhodes
Furniture, among others. Many of these companies sell wooden
bedroom products purchased from domestic suppliers, China and
other sources to meet needs of their American customers.
"This is one of the most cynical trade cases
brought before the ITC in recent memory," said William
Silverman, FRA Counsel and an attorney with Hunton & Williams.
"The domestic manufacturers helped create the Chinese bedroom
furniture industry years ago to obtain access to low-cost, high
quality furniture that it then resold directly to American
retailers. Some of the petitioners have imported wooden bedroom
furniture from China for years and profited by reselling these
Chinese imports to major retailers. Once retailers went to China
directly, thereby eliminating petitioners' middlemen profits,
the group of domestic producers responded by filing this dumping
case with the ITC."
Said Veitenheimer, "Many domestic producers have
adjusted well to the global market. In fact, the largest
domestic furniture producer, Furniture Brands, is actively
opposing the petition. The real targets of the petitioners'
actions are not Chinese imports themselves, but their
competitors and American retailers who are no longer paying the
middleman profits to the domestic manufacturers but instead
dealing directly with Chinese manufacturers.
"During the investigation," he said, "some of
the petitioners' furniture buyers were in Vietnam, Brazil and
other countries establishing relationships with other foreign
manufacturers to replace the Chinese imports and ensure their
profits as importers and as middlemen."
In testimony before the ITC earlier this month,
retailers, importers and trade experts testified that Chinese
bedroom furniture imports have benefited domestic furniture
manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Products from China have
brought purchasers into the market by offering a broader range
of furniture styles at affordable prices, and domestic furniture
producers have themselves adopted blended production strategies
(using both domestically produced and Chinese-made furniture in
bedroom suites) to maximize profits.
The petition covers approximately $1 billion
dollars worth of wooden bedroom furniture from China. Affected
merchandise would include: wooden beds, headboards, night
tables, dressers, bureaus, hutches, armoires and certain book
cases or writing tables.
"The FRA's goal is to defeat this unjustified
petition before more damage is done," said Veitenheimer. "There
is no benefit that will come from it. U.S. jobs will be not be
saved or returned. Instead, U.S. retailer jobs may be lost and
U.S. consumers will face major disruptions -- with price,
choices and quality in the short term."
The Furniture Retailers of America (FRA) is
comprised of large and small retail companies throughout the
U.S. formed to protect its customers from a group of domestic
furniture manufacturers seeking to restrict consumer access to
high quality wooden bedroom furniture by filing an anti-dumping
petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission.
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