Retailers of America (FRA) today said that it would continue to fight
against dumping duties on Chinese wooden bedroom furniture imports and called
any duty on these imports a "needless tax on American consumers."
The Department of Commerce announced preliminary margins on imports of bedroom
furniture from China ranging from 4.90 percent to 198.08 percent -- effective on
the day of publication in the Federal Register, or in approximately a week.
"We were pleased that the Commerce Department rejected the outrageous dumping
rates proposed by the domestic furniture manufacturers, and we believe the
duties announced today -- which were far lower than the duties sought by the
petitioners -- show that the petitioners' problems are not the result of Chinese
imports," said Mike Veitenheimer, FRA spokesperson and Vice President and
Counsel of The Bombay Company.
Veitenheimer continued, "However, we do not believe that a duty of any size is
justified and will only hurt retailers, retail workers and consumers. Duties are
just another tax that could raise prices and limit the choices for millions of
people who want to buy quality, affordable bedroom furniture."
"These duties are only preliminary, and the Furniture Retailers of America will
continue to fight to lower or eliminate this furniture tax altogether. What is
clear from Commerce's decision today is that it wasn't the Chinese imports that
were causing the problems of the domestic furniture producers who joined this
petition. Many furniture producers that didn't sign on to the petition, such as
Furniture Brands International, are doing very well because they have adjusted
to the global marketplace. That's how good business works," said Veitenheimer.
"Domestic furniture manufacturers helped create the Chinese bedroom furniture
industry in the first place to obtain access to low-cost, high quality furniture
and then resold it to retailers. When retailers went directly to China
themselves, cutting off domestic furniture producers middlemen profits, they
responded by filing this petition. Even now, some of them are already moving
their import systems from China to other countries such as Vietnam, Brazil and
Indonesia. No U.S. jobs would have been returned through this petition," he
Bill Silverman, FRA Counsel and lawyer with Hunton & Williams said, "We don't
believe that the facts support a finding of any duty, especially since Commerce
elected to use India, which has virtually no wooden bedroom furniture exports to
construct cost comparisons to support its decision. The preliminary margins
themselves demonstrate how outrageous the petitioners were in originally asking
for margins of up to 440 percent, which were obviously exaggerated. In the end,
as Commerce concludes its investigation later in the year, we are confident the
duties will be lowered or eliminated."
"This isn't over yet," concluded Veitenheimer, "we still have to continue to
promote the interests of our customers and their rights to high quality bedroom
furniture, and protect our businesses and our more than 200,000 employees until
the final International Trade Commission (ITC) determination. We remain
optimistic that the ITC's final decision will be fair."
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