On December 9th, the ITC held its first initial hearing on a petition for Chinese Lumber antidumping/countervailing duties. AAHP presented a very strong case affirming that imported hardwood plywood products from China are traded fairly at competitive prices and have a rightful place in the global consumer market.
The ITC informed AAHP that it will review presentations from both sides and announce whether an investigation will proceed by the end of the year.
Then something strange occurred. On December 15th, less than a week after the first initial ITC hearing, a puzzling news release was issued from Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association (HPVA) headlined: “Chinese Plywood Dumped At 100%+” that makes patently false claims about the Department of Commerce’s initiation. (They call it DOC’s “preliminary” determination, but that is not due until April of 2017 at the earliest).
The claims HPVA makes are misleading to patently false and could have serious global market implications. Specifically:
- HPVA claim – “the U.S. Department of Commerce found preliminary dumping margins of over 100%.” Fact – this statement is false. The DOC has FOUND NO preliminary dumping margins. The DOC’s action on Friday, December 9th was a notice of initiation of the investigation. This means that the investigation is only beginning. The DOC must undergo a complete investigation of selected mandatory respondents before any preliminary duties can be put in place. In addition, the ITC must make a preliminary injury determination. Furthermore, HPVA’s initiation margins now are just as meaningless as they were in 2012 when the petitioners alleged 310% but DOC actually found ZERO AD margins at the preliminary determination for all individually investigated companies. The petition margins are great for press releases but they are pure fantasy.
- HPVA claim – “the US Department of Commerce identified 30 Chinese government subsidy programs that may be countervailable.” Truth – This statement is true but misleading. There has been NO preliminary finding of subsidy programs on Chinese plywood. The DOC has merely initiated an investigation. No CVD duties are now in place.
AAHP contacted the Department of Commerce who confirmed that the HPVA statement is false, that the investigation was only just initiated and “we can’t finish an investigation in six days.”
Shortly thereafter, the HPVA release vanished from its website at http://www.hpva.org/news/chinese-plywood-dumped-100.
To issue such a reckless statement shows that HPVA is either woefully ignorant about the investigative process or they deliberately put out misleading and false statements in attempt to manipulate market conditions ahead of the ITC decision whether or not to pursue the investigation.
Clearly HPVA and the petitioners are worried about losing a third time in their harassment campaign so are resorting to cheap tactics.
A full fact sheet on the investigation of Chinese hardwood plywood as well as a full case calendar can be FOUND HERE.