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Chinese Imports Down, But Other Nations Seen Skirting Duties

RESTON, VA — Last year’s imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on wooden cabinets, vanities and components from China “continues to have a huge beneficial impact” for domestic cabinet suppliers, although other nations are allegedly evading the trade duties, according to the law firm contesting the imports on behalf of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association.

According to Luke Meisner of Washington, DC-based Schagrin Associates, the latest import statistics made public by the U.S. Commerce Dept. reflect a significant monthly decline since 2020 in cabinet, vanity and component shipments from China, although imports of those products from Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Indonesia and other countries “increased tremendously” after the AD/CVD duties were imposed on Chinese imports found to be in violation of antidumping laws.

“In 2021, Thailand is emerging as another potential significant source of imports,” Meisner informed the Reston, VA-based KCMA, which has been battling against allegedly government-subsidized Chinese imports of wooden cabinets, vanities and cabinets components, including doors, drawer fronts and face frames. KCMA members represent most of the cabinet industry’s largest domestic suppliers.

“Cambodia showed a large increase in 2020, but imports have moderated somewhat in 2021,” Meisner reported, attributing the slowdown to a preliminary determination of antidumping and countervailing duty evasion that was recently made by U.S. Customs agents regarding alleged transshipment through Cambodia.

“Our research continues to show that increased imports from countries other than China are due to a combination of transshipment of Chinese cabinets through these countries and new production facilities popping up in these countries,” Meisner observed.

The attorney informed KCMA officials that Schagrin Associates is “making significant inroads in combatting evasion of the AD/CVD duties through transshipment.” In addition, Meisner said, recent Congressional legislation could address what the attorney termed a “whack-a-mole” problem that occurs when trade remedy orders are put in place on imports from one country resulting in the U.S. becoming flooded with dumped or subsidized imports of that same product from a different country.

According to Meisner, Schagrin Associates continues to assist the Dept. of Justice in defending AD/CVD orders on Chinese imports from challenges by Chinese producers and importers. The KCMA has also filed charges with U.S. Customs officials regarding the alleged transshipment of Chinese cabinets through third countries, Meisner said.

“We anticipate that Customs will take strong enforcement action against…importers involving evasion schemes,” the attorney said.

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