In June 2010, the Commerce Department determined that wire decking from China was both dumped and subsidized. Despite Commerce’s findings of unfair trade practices, the International Trade Commission, in a split 4 to 2 vote, found that these imports were not causing injury to the domestic industry. As a result, no orders to offset the unfair trading practices were imposed.
The U.S. industry contends that the Commission’s decision is not consistent with the law or supported by substantial record evidence, and therefore will appeal.
According to its report, the Commission recognized that the volumes of imports of wire decking from China were significant, that the imports were undercutting U.S. prices in over 90 percent of comparisons, and that the domestic industry was in a weakened state and had suffered declining trade and financial performance over the period. Nonetheless, the Commission did not find that the imports contributed significantly to the industry’s poor performance.
By law, the domestic industry is entitled to appeal the Commission’s decision and has chosen to exercise its right to do so in the decking case. John Caldwell, president of ITC Manufacturing, stated:
“Our industry has struggled to compete with the low prices at which the Chinese decks are sold. We have suffered lost sales and reduced revenues as well as job losses due to these unfair imports. … If our injury was only due to the recession, why did our industry’s condition improve in first quarter when demand was still depressed? Our industry won back sales and was able to price reasonably again in early 2010 once the preliminary duties were imposed, showing that it was the unfair imports and not demand that caused our problems.”
Kathleen Cannon, counsel to the domestic industry, stated that despite the negative finding by the Commission, she believes the facts of the case are strong. In particular, Ms. Cannon cited the extensive underselling and price suppression caused by a significant volume of imports that was directly correlated to the financial downturns the industry suffered. She further indicated that the Commission’s database did not account for all imports, but only considered data from those importers who chose to respond to questionnaires. As a result, she said, the Commission’s database did not recognize the increases in import market share that actually occurred.
The plaintiffs in the appeal are AWP Industries, Inc. of Frankfort, Kentucky, ITC Manufacturing, Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona, J&L Wire Cloth LLC of St. Paul, Minnesota, Nashville Wire Products. Mfg. Co., Inc., of Nashville, Tennessee, and Wireway Husky Corp. of Denver, North Carolina. Plaintiffs are represented in this case by Kathleen W. Cannon of the law firm Kelley Drye & Warren, LLP.