US wood floor producers seek duties on China exports

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. wood floor
manufacturers have asked the federal government to slap a 242
percent anti-dumping duty on competing products from China,
according to a filing with the U.S. Commerce Department.

The petition by The Coalition for American Hardwood Parity,
an industry group that includes Anderson Hardwood Floors, Award
Hardwood Floors and Shaw Industries Group, also asks for other
duties to be applied to offset China’s currency practices.

The case involves easy-to-assemble wood floor planks like
those sold at U.S. retailers Home Depot (HD.N: ) and Lowe’s
(LOW.N: ). U.S. wood floor manufacturers have been hurt by the
slump in domestic new house construction.

The Commerce Department will announce on Nov. 11 whether it
will accept the petition, which was filed last week, a
department spokesman said on Tuesday. It is expected to do so,
setting the stage for it to investigate whether the
anti-dumping and countervailing duties were warranted.

The industry group has asked for a 242-percent duty on
“multilayered wood flooring” from China because of what it
describes as unfairly low pricing.

It is also requesting countervailing duties to offset
Chinese government subsidies — it says China keeps its
currency undervalued by as much as 25 percent to 50 percent to
give its exporters a price advantage.

The Commerce Department has turned down previous requests
to investigate the currency charge.

A bill passed last month by the U.S. House of
Representatives aims to make clear the department has the legal
authority to launch such probes, but it is uncertain if the
Senate will also approve the bill.

Although imports of multilayered wood flooring from China
fell to $119.7 million in 2009, from $148 million in 2008, the
Asian nation supplied about 62.5 percent of U.S. imports in
2009, up from 45.7 percent in 2007, the U.S. industry group
said.

It argued that last year’s drop was caused by the U.S.
recession and that China’s share of the U.S. market would
continue to rise without duties, making it harder for U.S. wood
floor manufacturers to recover from the housing downturn.

The U.S. International Trade Commission, which has the
final say on whether any duties are imposed, will also examine
the issue and vote in December on whether there is enough
evidence of injury to U.S. companies for the case to proceed.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Paul Simao)

US wood floor producers seek duties on China exports