SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND RACHET UP PRESSURE ON CBP TO DELIVER MILLIONS IN OVERDUE PAYMENTS OWED TO CNY FIRMS FROM TRADE RULINGS TO COMPANIES LIKE STICKLEY AND HARDEN FURNITURE – SENATORS DEMAND ENFORCEMENT OF DUTY COLLECTION FROM WOODEN FURNITURE DUMPING BY CHINA & URGE SWIFT PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO PROTECT CNY JOBS FROM UNFAIR COMPETITION
Schumer, Gillibrand Reveal CNY’s Stickley Furniture is Owed $8 Million & Harden Furniture is Owed $1.2 Million In Uncollected Duties On Wooden Bedroom Furniture From China That Was Dumped on Market From 2005-2012 – Customs & Border Protection Has Failed to Collect Duties That Would Allow Domestic Manufacturers Like Stickley & Harden To Compete on Level Playing Field
Senators Also Push Customs & Border Protection For Answers On Losses From 2013-2014, Which Have Yet to Be Reported, And Why Importers of This Furniture Can Avoid Paying Hundreds Of Millions In Duties In Violation Of U.S. Trade Laws
Schumer, Gillibrand: Feds Need To Be More Aggressive In Collecting Uncollected Duties and Combating Duty Evasion So CNY Companies Are No Longer Undermined by Unfair Competition From China
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand revealed that Upstate New York companies Stickley Furniture, Harden Furniture – and other furniture manufacturers across the U.S. – are owed collectively over $216 million in duties that the federal government is required to collect from importers of wooden bedroom furniture from China. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that, in 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a report stating that over $400 million in antidumping duties on imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China still remained uncollected. Of this $400 million, $216 million was owed in payments to the domestic companies like Stickley and Harden. As a result, Schumer first urged CBP to collect these duties and use this money to pay companies like Stickley and Harden in Central New York, that continue to be hurt by this dumping from China. Today, Schumer and Gillibrand renewed their push to have these uncollected antidumping duties paid to U.S. companies and also pushed CBP to report on uncollected duties from 2013 and 2014.
The Senators said CBP recently published its Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA) Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013, which stated that almost $34 million in antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture from China went uncollected during FY2013. However, Schumer and Gillibrand said, CBP has yet to report on the totals collected from both 2013 and 2014, or propose a plan for combating duty evasion in the future. Schumer and Gillibrand said CBP needs to reduce antidumping duty evasion as soon as possible, as U.S. companies like Stickley and Harden in Central New York need to be able to compete on an even playing field.
“When it comes to collecting fines for illegal dumping of trade goods, like furniture, in ways that undermine American jobs in Upstate firms like Stickley Furniture and Harden Furniture, it seems there is no cop on the beat – and the CBP simply must do better,” said Senator Schumer. “For far too long importers of wooden bedroom furniture from China evaded antidumping duties without even a slap on the wrist, so I am calling on the CBP to swiftly collect the uncollected duties and reconcile the damages owed to these American companies so they can maintain production and grow their workforce.
“Customs and Border Protection officials have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to collecting the mandated duties on imports from China, which are intended to level the playing field for domestic furniture manufacturers that are playing by the rules. We need answers now from CBP as to what steps they are taking to end this illegal practice. This lost revenue not only prevents companies like Stickley and Harden from being able to expand and grow, but it also allows the continuation of unfair competition for this home-grown business,” added Schumer.
“Our economy is most effective when everyone follows fair trade practices, and the antidumping practices by overseas manufacturers are hurting the bottom line for local businesses like Stickley and Harden in Syracuse,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We won’t permit illegal practices to continue at the expense of law abiding New Yorkers. I will continue to push Customs and Border Patrol to take immediate action against violations and impose regulations that stop predatory trade practices; so we can see more made-in-America and keep good-paying jobs right here in New York.”
“Stickley Furniture is an iconic American company,” said Aminy Audi, Owner, L. & J.G. Stickley, Inc. “We thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, as well as Congressmen Katko and Hanna for their support and perseverance in pressing Customs to improve their track record on collecting antidumping duties. The dumping order on Wooden Bedroom Furniture is only effective if importers pay the duties that are owed. Importers that cheat on duties deny the U.S. industry of the relief that is due them under U.S. law,” she added. “Moreover, the dumping duties that remain uncollected should be distributed to companies like ours, who use these funds to improve our operations, preserve American jobs, and invest for the future.”
Schumer has been a tireless advocate for companies seeking relief from predatory foreign practices like duping. Schumer first advocated, back in 2010, for the continuation of a 2005 duty order placed on wooden bedroom furniture from China, when it was clear that companies like Stickley and Harden would continue to be harmed by dumping from companies in China. As of 2010, an estimated 25 percent of jobs in the U.S. industry had been lost due to dumping from China. Duty evasion by importers of wooden bedroom furniture from China, which has gone unchecked by CBP, has allowed a continuation of a great deal of dumping, which has caused harm to the U.S. furniture industry.
On top of the harm caused by duty evasion, it is estimated that Stickley Furniture is owed $8 million and Harden Furniture is owed $1.2 million in uncollected duties that would have been distributed to them from CBP. These estimates were once lower but the industry has reevaluated due to recently settled litigation. Stickley could use this money to boost production, keep its 870 Manlius jobs and more hire workers. Schumer demanded CBP immediately revamp their efforts to collect the uncollected duties he advocated to impose on importers of wooden bedroom furniture from China, and deliver the hundreds of millions of dollars owed to Stickley, Harden and other furniture companies across the country
Schumer and Gillibrand led a bi-partisan, bicameral letter with Senator Burr from North Carolina asking CBP to provide up-to-date information on their duty collection efforts, an explanation of the efforts taken to collect the uncollected duties and a report on steps that will be taken to reduce future duty evasion of this order. The letter is signed by U.S. Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Burr, Leahy, Sanders, Warner, Kaine and Tillis and U.S. Representatives Foxx, Hanna, Katko, Welch and Griffith. Schumer has also submitted these questions to the Secretary of Homeland Security after a Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing last week.
The American Furniture Manufacutring Committee (AFMC), a multi-state organization working on behalf of furniture producers, filed a petition to impose antidumping duties on imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China, and in 2005, the Department of Commerce imposed an antidumping duty order on these imports. The duty order was later renewed by the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission in 2010. Despite the renewal of the duties, a report by the CBP showed that hundreds of millions of dollars in antidumping duties from China had gone uncollected.
In 2005, the International Trade Commission (ITC) began to charge a penalty on dumped Chinese wooden furniture imports, whose prices are artificially low due to predatory trade practices. The duties imposed ranged from 1 to 198 percent on companies in China. Initially these duties went a long way towards protecting the remaining U.S. furniture manufacturers from further harm, allowing companies like Stickley and Harden Furniture to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. During that time, Stickley Furniture collected an estimated $8 million non-taxpayer dollars from these anti-dumping duties. In 2010, these antidumping duties were set to expire before Senator Schumer stepped-in to fight for their renewal. The ITC voted 6-0 in favor of maintaining the duties. However, from 2007 to 2012, CBP let $369 million in duties go uncollected.
Schumer explained that his staff met with CBP officials in June 2013 requesting an update as to what steps the CBP was taking to collect antidumping duties from China. In August 2013 the CBP provided a response to the initial inquiry. It reported that as of April 30, 2013, CBP had failed to collect $369 million in antidumping duties assessed against imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China. Of the $369 million in uncollected duties, approximately $216 million would have distributed to members of the AFMC and other supporters of the Department of Commerce’s petition, pursuant to the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA). Since the CBP reported $369 million in uncollected duties, they have published their CDSOA Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013. This report stated that almost $34 million in antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture from China went uncollected during FY2013. This brings the total amount of uncollected duties from Chinese wooden bedroom furniture companies to over $400 million.
Schumer and Gillibrand said that American Furniture Manufacturing Committee (AFMC) officials met with representatives of CBP in March 2014 to discuss the issue of uncollected duties. In that meeting CBP representatives said they would provide the AFMC with an updated response to Schumer’s office in terms of what steps CBP would take to reduce antidumping duty evasion. In addition, the CBP pledged to investigate the possibility of instituting additional bonding requirements for non-resident and new importers. To date, CBP has yet to provide those answers or follow up on their investigation. Schumer said the CBP has not responded to repeated requests from the AMFC to provide the information they had requested in March 2014.
Schumer and Gillibrand said that CBP has an obligation to ensure duties are being collected in accordance with international trade laws. Schumer said that CBP has repeatedly failed to provide answers to both the AFMC and to congressional inquiries over what steps they were taking to reduce antidumping duty evasion and to claim the $400 million in uncollected duties from Chinese wooden furniture companies.
Dumping occurs when a foreign producer sells a product in the United States 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. The difference between the price (or cost) in the foreign market and the price in the U.S. market is called the dumping margin. The dumping margin is used to determine the amount of antidumping duties to be collected on imports of a product found to be dumped and causing injury to the domestic industry.
Schumer led the letter to Commissioner Kerlikowske along with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC).
A copy of Senator Schumer’s and Gillibrand’s letter to CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske appears below:
Dear Commissioner Kerlikowske:
We write on behalf of our constituents who are members of the American Furniture Manufacturing Committee (“AFMC”) located in North Carolina, New York, Virginia, and Vermont to seek assistance with regards to duty evasion on imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China. We first relayed our concerns to Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) in June of 2013 and remain concerned that there is persistent evasion of duties imposed on wooden bedroom furniture from China. Furniture manufacturers in our states have informed our offices that they continue to be harmed by dumping as some importers of wooden bedroom furniture from China evade duties owed on imports. We again seek your assistance to find a solution to this problem.
As a result of a petition filed by AFMC, the Department of Commerce imposed antidumping duties on imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China in 2005. These duties were renewed by the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission in 2010. Reports published by CBP pursuant to the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (“CDSOA”) demonstrate that hundreds of millions of dollars in antidumping duties on imports of wooden bedroom from China remain uncollected. On June 11, 2013, Congressional staff from our offices met with CBP officials to discuss what steps were being taken to resolve the duty collection problem. As a follow up, our offices sent questions to CBP and, on August 29, 2013, CBP provided a response to those questions, which we have attached for reference. CBP’s response reveals that as of April 30, 2013, it had failed to collect $369 million in antidumping duties assessed against imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China. Of that $369 million in uncollected duties, $216 million would have been distributed to members of AFMC and petition-supporters under the CDSOA. Since CBP’s initial response to our inquiries, CBP published its CDSOA Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013. This report stated that almost $34 million in antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture from China went uncollected on assessments during FY2013.
AFMC informed our offices that they met with CBP officials from the Office of Administration and the Revenue Division on March 12, 2014 to discuss this issue, and what measures could be taken to improve duty collection going forward, including the use of enhanced bonding and single transaction bonds. At that meeting, Assistant Commissioner Eugene Schied and Bruce Ingalls, Director of the Revenue Division, indicated that CBP would provide AFMC with an updated response to the original Congressional questions regarding duty collection efforts and investigate the possibility of instituting additional bonding requirements for non-resident and new importers. AFMC informed our offices that CBP has yet to provide an updated response to those questions. In addition, on September 29, 2014, Mr. Glenn Prillaman, President and CEO of Stanly Furniture Company, sent Assistant Commissioner Schied and Mr. Ingalls a letter requesting the information that he was promised at the March 12, 2014 meeting. A copy of his letter is attached. Mr. Prillaman has informed us that CBP has not yet responded to his letter.
We request that CBP provide our offices with an updated response to our June 2013 inquiries. This response should include the total amounts of uncollected and collected duties for FY2013 and FY2014. A copy of our June 2013 inquiries is attached. In addition, we request that CBP provide an explanation of the efforts taken to collect the uncollected duties and provide a report on steps that will be taken to reduce future duty evasion of this order. We would like to receive this information in a timely manner. CBP has an obligation to enforce our trade laws and put forth its best efforts to collect these duties and protect our domestic manufacturers from predatory practices. Due to the scale of this duty evasion and its resulting harm to our domestic industry, it is imperative that CBP prioritize duty collection of wooden bedroom furniture from China and ensure that sufficient policies are in place to prevent future duty evasion.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
United States Senator
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