Last year, more than half of the decorative and hardwood plywood products imported into the United States came from China. These products come into the country significantly below the U.S. market price because of the Chinese government’s questionable support of domestic hardwood plywood producers through tax breaks and discounts given to land and raw materials.
While there are groups that claim to gain a competitive advantage in their market using these underpriced products, this low cost-based gain has the potential to reduce tens of thousands of American jobs.
In a recent Forbes article, Timber Products Company CEO Joe Gonyea, III made the case for American workers. He explained that when China can break the rules, it hurts workers across the United States. He has watched as communities left devastated by unfair trade deals have become increasingly distrustful.
As a leader of a member-company within The Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood, Gonyea is urging the U.S. government to put in place anti-dumping duties that will level the playing field on price and give U.S. companies the opportunity to share the market.
Gonyea hopes that U.S. workers will find the relief they seek as the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and International Trade Commission (ITC) begin to investigate these unfair trade practices. To impose duties on these products, the DOC and ITC must agree that dumping and subsidization are happening and that this dumping is the direct cause of “material injury.” Results of the ongoing investigation would not be put in place until after September 2017.
While the new Presidential administration is actively working to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, the Coalition aims to secure the livelihoods of thousands of U.S. workers. It was through the Coalition’s impactful petitioning that DOC and ITC agreed to launch this investigation. However, Gonyea writes, this is only the first step of the process to reclaim American jobs.
While competition is expected and necessary in meeting builder and manufacturer demands for plywood products, it only benefits all parties when the playing field is level. Anti-dumping duties counteract the damage caused when imports are sold at less than the U.S. market value. This balance supports a more level market where products compete based on their unique properties and not the low costs made possible through illicit breaks.
Today, as the U.S. decorative and hardwood plywood market tips past the 50 percent mark toward low-cost imported goods, it is more important than ever that U.S. lawmakers understand and correct the harm impacting the entire supply chain as a result of allowing China to skirt past regulations by which other suppliers are accountable.
To find out more information regarding Timber Products Company’s stance on this issue, don’t hesitate to reach out.