CFTHP Announces Commerce Department Preliminarily Finds That the Vast Majority of Imports of Hardwood Plywood from China Are Unfairly Traded

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On February 27, 2013, the Department of Commerce announced its preliminary affirmative countervailing duty determination in the investigation of imports of hardwood and decorative plywood from China.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced on Wednesday its preliminary affirmative determination in the countervailing duty investigation of hardwood and decorative plywood from China. As a result of this affirmative determination, the vast majority of imports of the product will be subject to a cash deposit requirement for estimated countervailing duties of either 22.63 or 27.16 percent as a condition for entering product into the U.S. market.    

Based on the Department’s preliminary finding that the Government of China is providing unfair and illegal subsidies to producers and exporters of the product in that country, imports from all but three Chinese producers are now subject to the cash deposit requirement for estimated countervailing duties.

The unfair trade investigations of imports from China result from a petition filed in September 2012 by the Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood (CFTHP), an organization composed of U.S. manufacturers of hardwood and decorative plywood.

The countervailing duty rates announced on Wednesday are preliminary, and subject to change in the final determination, which will be issued this summer. Between now and then, Commerce Department officials will conduct an intensive on-site verification of the information presented in questionnaire responses by the Chinese producers. There will also be opportunities for all parties to the investigation to present additional factual information, as well as legal arguments, to the Department.    

The preliminary determination in the parallel antidumping investigation of these same imports could further increase the liability for cash deposits by U.S. importers of the Chinese product.

That preliminary determination will be announced in late-April. Mr. Levin observed that a U.S. importer’s liability can be applied retroactively if the CFTHP alleges “critical circumstances,” a legal mechanism in unfair trade investigations that addresses instances where there has been a surge of imports from the subject country in an attempt to “beat” the imposition of a cash deposit requirement. In addition, Mr. Levin noted that the petitioning Coalition will be documenting additional subsidy programs, which could add to the margins by the final determination.

The CFTHP notes that as a matter of historical record, there are now, for the first time, formal determinations by the U.S. government that the vast majority of imports of hardwood and decorative plywood are being unfairly traded in the United States. “No one should feel comfortable about the pervasiveness of unfair trading in the U.S. market. The proposition that ‘cheap is good, regardless of whether it is fair or not,’ has been rejected by the United States and most of our trading partners – including China when it joined the WTO,” said Levin. “Unfair subsidization, like that found by the Commerce Department, harms all parties in the commercial channel – not just domestic manufacturers, but ultimately importers, distributors and consumers as well.”

For more information on the petition and investigation, visit or also see the fact sheet on the Department of Commerce's website.

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