The United States launched Thursday a probe of Chinese imports of hardwood and decorative plywood suspected of being sold at below-cost in the U.S. market.

The Commerce Department said the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations would look at imports of the products, composed of two or more layers of wood veneer in combination with a core.

The plywood is used for indoor applications, such as wall panels, kitchen cabinet components, furniture components and for certain engineered wood flooring.

The investigations were requested by the Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood, representing six U.S. timber products companies, the department said.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to make its preliminary decision on whether the investigations should continue in mid-November.

If given the go-ahead, the Commerce Department will be scheduled to make its preliminary countervailing and anti-dumping duty determinations in December 2012 and March 2013, respectively.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012