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The International Trade Commission (ITC) Is Due To Review Duties Against Candle Makers In China Again This Year; Domestic Candle Makers Like Cathedral Candle Have Said Current Protections Are Instrumental In Leveling Playing Field For The U.S. Industry

In 2015, The Chinese Government Increased Export Rebates & Attempted To Find New Ways To Dump Candles Into The U.S. Market; U.S. Protected Domestic Candle Industry Then, But ITC Should Expedite Review of the Duty Order Again And Continue These Protections 

Schumer: We Should Maintain A Level The Playing Field & Protect Syracuse’s Heritage As Candle Making City, Not Help Foreign Candle Makers Cheat & Destroy Local Jobs

After going to bat for Syracuse’s Cathedral Candle Company in 2011 and 2016, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that he is calling on the International Trade Commission (ITC) to take action again to protect American candle making jobs that could be put at risk by unfair trade practices of foreign candle imports. Currently, the U.S. imposes duties on candle producers from China – who have attempted to undermine domestic producers like Cathedral Candle in Syracuse in the past – which are due to sunset this year and must be renewed. Schumer is urging the ITC to conduct an expedited review and retain the duty order to help level the playing field for domestic candle makers.

“Cathedral Candle has led the religious candle making industry with innovation and product excellence since 1897, and these protections are critical to ensuring its presence on the Northside of Syracuse does not melt away,” said Senator Schumer. “These past few years have shown how important it is to keep these duties in place that will prevent a flood of cheap imports from putting our local businesses and the people they employ at risk. That is why I am again urging the ITC to expedite its review of this duty order to prevent foreign candle producers from undermining Cathedral Candle and domestic candle producers nationwide.”

For almost 125 years, Cathedral Candle Company has been making superior quality church candles in Syracuse.  Cathedral currently employs over 70 of the world’s finest candle craftsmen and craftswomen, dedicated to the product they produce.  They provide our candles to churches throughout the United States. 

“For these past 125 years likely the largest threat we, and all of the US candle producers have confronted was the threat created by the dumping of candles made in China into the US marketplace creating an enormously uneven playing field. We are still here because the Government, with Senator Schumer’s support, has acted to stop unfairly traded Chinese candle imports,” said Louis Steigerwald III, President of Cathedral Candle Company. “No matter what the product might be, including candles, Senator Schumer has had a long history of doing what he can to ensure the US manufacturer plays on a level playing field particularly when it comes to imports from China entering the US marketplace. We greatly appreciate Sen. Schumer’s support of Cathedral Candle Company and all US candle producers.  He has always responded to our asks for help and support.”

Schumer said that the reinstatement of this duty order is important because industry evidence has shown that China’s producers would flood the market with artificially cheap candles if the duty order was revoked. According to the U.S. industry reports, China’s candle exporters and U.S. importers have a history of attempting to evade this Duty Order and continue to attempt to evade U.S. duties imposed on candles from China. In 2015, the Chinese government began increasing its export rebates in an attempt to unfairly boost their candle exports. Additionally, recent trends in candle imports from China into the European Union (EU) and Mexico, which revoked their anti-dumping orders in 2015 and 2011 respectively, show significant increases in unfairly traded candles. In fact, Mexico has seen a 600% surge in candle imports from China over the last decade after revoking its own duty order. The senator said these indicators prove the need for continued protections for American candle makers.

The process of dumping occurs when a foreign producer sells a product in the U.S. at a price that is below that producer’s sales price in its home market, or at a price that is lower than the cost of production. As a result of a previous investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the ITC, antidumping duties were imposed to offset dumping of candles from China in the U.S. market. The current duties have gone a long way towards protecting the remaining U.S. candle manufacturers, including Cathedral Candle Company, from further harm, and in keeping manufacturing jobs in this industry in the United States and in the state of New York.

Schumer explained that the ITC will review the existing antidumping Duty Order, last renewed in 2016, this year, as it does every five years. However, Schumer said that because the Chinese industry failed to enter submissions for the ITC’s sunset proceeding, the ITC should conduct an expedited review, which would help to ensure that the Duty Order stays in place. Candle exporters in China have previously attempted to cheat the anti-dumping system in a variety of ways. They previously created a bureaucratic backlog in the U.S. by flooding the Commerce Department with requests as to which candles are subject to dumping duties, draining resources away from trade rule enforcement. Some manufacturers have even gone as far as to ship candles to the U.S. without wicks to change their import classification, and even intentionally mislabeling the country of origin.

Schumer said these types of predatory trade tactics, employed by both foreign governments and producers, must not be allowed to undermine U.S. manufacturers like Cathedral Candle and their workers. Schumer said it is increasingly difficult for small companies like Cathedral Candle to compete with foreign competitors who seek to expand their U.S. market share through predatory pricing practices, and the U.S. must therefore be tireless in its efforts to protect these American manufacturers and employers. Schumer therefore urges the ITC to carefully consider the arguments made by the domestic industry to conduct an expedited review of this Duty Order and to retain the Order.

Senator Schumer’s letter to the ITC appears below:

Dear Chairman Kearns:

I write in support of the National Candle Association's submissions regarding the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) recently initiated fifth Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on petroleum wax candles from China. On behalf of candle producers in New York and across the country, I urge the ITC to carefully consider the arguments made by the domestic candle industry to conduct an expedited review of this Duty Order, as well as to retain the Order to ensure a level playing field for domestic candle producers.

America's religious candle making industry has its origins in Syracuse, New York. Since 1897, the family-owned and operated Cathedral Candle Company has produced candles in Syracuse for many of America's churches nationwide. While the company has invested in improved technology and grown its business over time, Cathedral Candle's original factory remains the core of its expanded manufacturing facility and currently employs 70 workers on Kirkpatrick Street.

Cathedral Candle, a member of the National Candle Association, has informed me that the antidumping Duty Order on imported petroleum wax candles from China protects the business from economic harm and loss of market share, and that it has been vital to their continued presence and expansion in New York.  China’s candle industry is large and export-oriented, and the Chinese government has targeted the sector for growth through measures aimed at boosting candle exports. The country’s candle manufacturers are eligible for a 13% export rebate, the highest export rebate currently available in China. At the same time, the Chinese government has also set a minimum production level for their domestic petroleum industry, from which petroleum wax candles are derived.

According to the National Candle Association, candle exporters in China continue to attempt to evade this Duty Order, often through illegal transshipment. It is my understanding that U.S. candle producers have seen shipping boxes of candles made in factories in China with false country-of-origin labels. These harmful circumvention measures have the effect of undermining the Order, eroding the critical protections it provides for American candle manufacturers – like Cathedral Candle – and their workers.

Furthermore, recent trends in candles imported from China into the European Union (EU) and Mexico may be indicative of the likelihood of increased imports into the U.S. market if the existing Duty Order is not maintained. Since the EU has revoked its antidumping duty order against candles from China in 2015, European candle producers have seen a significant increase in imported candles, as well as severe price depression. Mexico similarly revoked its own antidumping order at the end of 2011, and the country has experienced a surge in candle imports from China of more than 600% over the last decade.

The National Candle Association cites these aforementioned predatory trade practices and concerns as evidence that the revocation of the Duty Order would significantly harm the domestic industry and, at minimum, allow imports to surge to previously seen levels.  We cannot allow unfair foreign business tactics to undermine U.S. candle manufacturers and their workers, particularly as it is increasingly difficult for small companies like Cathedral Candle to compete with larger foreign competitors. These efforts to protect the domestic industry from predatory trade practices are even more critical as U.S. manufacturers continue to weather and recover from this unprecedented economic crisis. 

For these reasons, I respectfully urge the ITC to consider the domestic candle industry's request to conduct an expedited Sunset Review of the existing Antidumping Duty Order on candles from China.  The National Candle Association asserts that responses to the ITC's notice of institution of the Sunset Review are inadequate, as members of the industry in China failed to enter submissions for the ITC's sunset proceeding, and the agency should therefore conduct an expedited review.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter of importance to Cathedral Candle and the domestic candle industry, and I look forward to your response.