U.S. Panel Accepts Antidumping Petition On Chinese Furniture

By Agence France-Presse A U.S. trade panel ruled Jan. 9 that Chinese manufacturers are "dumping" bedroom furniture in the U.S. market at unfairly low prices and damaging U.S. producers, setting the stage for stiff duties. The decision by the International Trade Commission (ITC), a quasi-judicial agency that hears trade disputes, opened a new front in the row between the U.S. and China after Washington imposed duties on Chinese imports including television sets and textiles. The ITC ruled on a petition from some 30 U.S. manufacturers of wood bedroom furniture, seeking duties as high as 440%, claiming the artificially low prices on Chinese imports were hurting the companies. The decision sparked an immediate reaction from U.S. retailers, who formed their own coalition aimed at averting the tariffs. The newly formed Furniture Retailers of America called the new trade action "ill-conceived and damaging" for the United States. "This petition is a brazen and hypocritical attempt by some domestic furniture companies to use the U.S. government to manipulate the bedroom furniture market in their favor, at the expense of American consumers and independent furniture retail stores," said Mike Veitenheimer, spokesman for the retailers group. "Claiming that the petition against China will 'save American jobs' is simply not true. Instead, the short-term price disruptions and product shortages are almost certain to adversely affect sales of bedroom furniture leading to job losses for retail company employees." The petition covers some $1 billion worth of furniture from China, including wooden beds, headboards, night tables, dressers, bureaus, hutches, armoires, bookcases and writing tables. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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