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USITC Affirms Chinese Quartz Antidumping & Countervailing Duties, Not Retroactive

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USITC Affirms Chinese Quartz Antidumping & Countervailing Duties, Not Retroactive

Posted on 11 June 2019 by cradmin

Today, June 11, 2019, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC)  determined that the U.S. quartz surfacing industry was materially injured by reason of imports of quartz surface products from China that the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are subsidized and dumped on the U.S. market at less than fair value.

However, the USITC also made a negative finding concerning critical circumstances with regard to imports of these products from China.  As a result, imports of quartz surface products from China made prior to the initial finding will not be subject to retroactive antidumping or countervailing duties. This is a critical element, as numerous businesses could have been subject to millions in fees dating back 90 before a ruling was issued, which may have driving many businesses under.

Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Irving A. Williamson, Meredith M. Broadbent, Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, and Jason E. Kearns voted in the affirmative.

As a result of the USITC’s affirmative determinations, Commerce will issue final antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of this quartz surfacing from China on June 24. Importers of these products could be liable for antidumping duties of up to 265.81 to 333.69 percent and countervailing duties of up to 45.32 to 190.99 percent, which were the preliminary amounts. However, it is possible the final duty determinations by the Department of Commerce on June 24 may be lower than the preliminary duties.

These fees are in addition to the 25 percent tariffs put on Chinese quartz products by President Trump.

The Commission’s full public report Quartz Surface Products from China (Inv. Nos. 701-TA-606 and 731-TA-1416 (Final), USITC Publication 4913, June 2019) will be issued on or about July 18 and will be available on the USITC website at: https://www.usitc.gov/commission_publications_library. It will contain the views of the USITC and information developed during the investigations.

Importers should also be aware that some crushed glass surface products may now be included in the scope. Under a revised exclusion for such products, only those that meet each of the following criteria will not be subject to the duties: 1) the crushed glass content is greater than any other single material by actual weight; 2) there are pieces of crushed glass visible across the surface of the product; 3) at least some of these pieces are larger than one centimeter wide; and 4) the distance between any single glass piece and the closest separate glass piece does not exceed 3 in.

The full press release issued by the USITC regarding the affirmative Chinese quartz dumping and countervailing duties ruling can be found here.

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Chinese Crushed Glass Competes With Quartz

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Chinese Crushed Glass Competes With Quartz

Posted on 26 February 2019 by CRadmin2

Now that countervailing and antidumping duties have taken effect on quartz countertops imported from China, some Chinese companies are already taking steps to circumvent the new regulations by offering crushed glass slabs. This can be seen either as a way to flood the market with a similar material that does not fall under the scope of the quartz duties or as a boon to efforts of using recycled materials. Either way, it is helpful to understand the pros and cons of crushed glass countertops before buying in to the material and offering it to your customers.

What Is a Crushed Glass Countertop?

Crushed glass is nothing new. It is produced domestically as a recycled-material option for those who wish to go green or rack up LEED points. Some of the branded options include Vetrazzo, IceStone and Curava.

While some crushed glass countertops have the glass embedded in concrete, acrylic resin is also used, and the resin countertops are those that are now directly competing with quartz. Home and business owners often choose crushed glass for its unique beauty, and some like the peace of mind that comes with owning and using a green surface.

Both types of crushed glass countertops are extremely durable, and some are even harder than quartz. They do not chip easily and are simple to clean. Acrylic resin is non-porous, so no sealer is required. However, with crushed glass embedded in concrete, regular sealing is necessary.

So far, the highest hurdle crushed glass has had to leap is the price point. Consumers pay from $50 to $100 per sq. ft., but that may drop now that China is looking much more strongly at this material to make up for lost quartz exports.

Crushed glass slabs are very strong, but if you put too much weight on one corner, they could crack. In addition, the material may stain from highly acidic foods, such as tomatoes, or from harsh cleansers that are not adequately washed away.

Availability of Crushed Glass

Crushed glass countertops are becoming increasingly available, and they are now produced to match quartz patterns and characteristics. One Chinese company, PowerStone Quartz, claims that they can produce slabs of any color that look exactly like quartz. These imported slabs are said to be distributed by MSI, but that has yet to be verified at the time of this publication.

According to PowerStone Quartz, their crushed glass options are only subject to an 18 percent tax/duty/tariff rather than the duties of up to 300 percent on quartz. Of course, domestic products are also available, such as the three mentioned above, but prices will be higher than Chinese imports.

If you have any experiences with crushed glass countertops, domestic or foreign, we would like to hear about your experiences. You can comment on this blog post on the website, or send us an email at [email protected]. We may publish your stories in a future update.

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Manufacturers, Importers, Fabricators Take Up Sides Over Quartz Antidumping Duties

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Manufacturers, Importers, Fabricators Take Up Sides Over Quartz Antidumping Duties

Posted on 26 January 2019 by cradmin

The biggest news to hit the countertop fabrication industry in 2018 was the imposition of new antidumping duties on quartz produced in China, and now stakeholders with opposing views have taken up sides by lending support to one of two groups: the Italy-based World-Wide Agglomerated Stone Manufacturers Association (A.St.A.), and the domestic group of importers and fabricators known as the American Quartz Worker Coalition.

The first organization is closely tied to the antidumping duties on Chinese quartz because one of its leading members is Cambria, the company that filed the original petition on the behalf of all domestic engineered stone producers. Among the other 13 prominent members of A.St.A. are Caesarstone, Vicostone, Cosentino, Santamargherita, RMC, Quartzforms, LG Hausys, and TopZStone.

A.St.A. took its present form as an international “association of manufacturers of agglomerated stones” in 2015, and since that time, it has grown to become a prominent organization in the countertop industry and other construction-related industries.

In December, A.St.A released an official statement reaffirming the organization’s commitment to the countervailing and antidumping duties imposed on quartz imported to the U.S. from China. Currently, the preliminary countervailing duties are 34.38 percent for most Chinese quartz imports and 178.45 percent for quartz from two particular manufacturers. The antidumping duties, announced last November also range from 242 to 341 percent.

 “A.St.A. World-Wide reaffirms its firm support of free and fair trade according to A.St.A.’s first and second articles of its statutes.

In particular, A.St.A. World-Wide supports the preliminary measures adopted by the United States Department of Commerce and by the United States International Trade Commission (USITC), as part of their investigations, to impose duties on Chinese producers to protect fair trade in the industry.

In addition, A.St.A. World-Wide considers similar measures should be adopted in other jurisdictions like the European Union to guarantee competition in equal conditions for the industry’s and of the consumers’ benefit.”

According to the statement, the organization represents 14 producers from 10 countries and 15,000 direct employees.

Cosentino also released its own statement on the matter.

“Our company stands in support of fair and free trade,” said Eduardo Cosentino, CEO of Cosentino North America and EVP Global Sales for Cosentino Group. “We fully support fair and free trade and sincerely applaud all efforts that have led to this decision and important cause. We are grateful for the opportunity to compete fairly in the United States, and with this announcement, we look forward to the restoration of a level playing field in the market.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum is a newly formed organization, the American Quartz Worker Coalition. According to a press release published January 23 of this year, the group is opposed to the duties on Chinese quartz imports, seeing the duties as “an attempt by one company, Cambria LLC, to convince the U.S. government to impose trade restrictions on imported quartz, a move designed to inflate Cambria’s profits.”

The Coalition claims to represent more than 200 U.S. fabricators and 5,000 workers across the country and believes that the duties will reduce the supply of available quartz by 50 percent, limiting consumer choice and threatening “tens of thousands of quartz-related fabricating jobs.”

“The U.S. quartz industry is an American success story,” said Matt Huarte, owner and vice president of Arizona Tile. “The industry has generated significant job growth, healthy profits and exploding sales over the past decade. Unfortunately, this success story is threatened by Cambria’s trade petition, which is simply an attempt to fatten its already high profits to the detriment of other manufacturers in the U.S. quartz industry, as well as U.S. quartz consumers.

“There are two very distinct market segments for quartz countertops in the U.S. – the luxury market and the mass market – with little competition between them,” said Rupesh Shah, co-president of MS International. “Cambria already dominates the premium luxury market with high-priced specialty products and is highly profitable as a result. U.S. fabricators, who serve the mass market and account for over 50,000 manufacturing jobs throughout all 50 states, rely on these imports to provide consumers with affordable quartz countertop products.”

“Cambria is petitioning the U.S. Government to diminish the vital role of fabricators in our industry, claiming that they play such a small and insignificant role in the industry that they should be ignored,” said Marisa Bedrosian, co-owner of Bedrosian’s Tile and Stone. “Nothing could be further from the truth. U.S. quartz fabricators are major employers and investors in this industry and, most importantly, are responsible for more U.S. labor to create quartz countertops than Cambria. It is easy to recognize the immeasurable value of our fabricators given that quartz countertops must be fabricated and installed to amount to any worth to a consumer.”

“The ‘Legend of Cambria’ is that fabricators don’t matter, and that is why we have come together to form this Coalition,” continued Bedrosian. “We will tell the real story and ensure that the facts about the entire U.S. quartz industry are heard and considered by the ITC. Hard working U.S. fabricators and other workers in our industry should be allowed to continue providing consumers with unlimited choices in quartz countertops.”

A final decision on this matter by the USITC is scheduled for May 2019.

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Next Round of Duties and Tariffs Announced on Chinese Quartz

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Next Round of Duties and Tariffs Announced on Chinese Quartz

Posted on 28 November 2018 by cradmin

Published November 20, the department of commerce made a preliminary determination that certain quartz surface products from  China are being sold in the United States at less than fair value, or dumped, and preliminary duties range from a minimum of 242.1 percent  on Suzhou Colorquartzstone New Material Co., Ltd. and Shanhai Meiyang Stone Co. Ltd., CQ International Ltd. to a maximum of 341.29 percent for “China-Wide” entities.

Click Here to read the Federal Register Notice for the Anti-dumping duties.

The new tariff is the second such fee placed on Chinese quartz imports after Cambria, a Minnesota-based manufacturer, filed a petition in April.

Assuming they stand with preliminary numbers, the final duty for this segment of the tariffs could be imposed as early as May of 2019.

Furthermore, these anti-dumping duties will be retroactively levied against any quartz from China that arrived up to 90 days before the Register publication if they are unliquidated. That means products arriving as far back as August could be hit by these fees, depending on the sales cycle, which can run as long as 300 days after the goods are imported.

These fees are in addition to preliminary countervailing duties that were also found to be warranted on September 21, with most Chinese quartz surfaces facing a 34.38 percent tariff, but a couple (namely Fasa Industrial Corp. Ltd. and Foshan Hero Stone Col. Ltd.) were pegged at a subsidy rate of 178.45 percent.

These countervailing duties must be affirmed by January 19.

Click Here to read the Federal Register Notice for the Countervailing Duties.

Additionally, the Trump administration initiated a 10 percent 301 Tariff against quartz surfacing (along with several other related products, machinery and equipment) which are set to rise to 25 percent on January 1, 2019.

So, if the anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties and tariffs all stand as preliminarily set, as early as May, the effective fee rate increases will range from a minimum of 301.48 percent to a maximum of more than 500 percent.

While no one is quite sure exactly how this will affect the American market for quartz surfacing, one research expert at Freedonia Research believes increased costs could very well curb the demand for the material. Other manufacturing companies have said they believe this could also lead to shortages in material.

Certainly demand is likely to increase for those companies manufacturing or importing quartz in countries other than China, although in the long run other lower labor cost markets, such as India or Vietnam, may have an opportunity to ramp up production and bring in lower-cost alternatives. However, it is likely to take awhile for capacity in those areas can be ramped up to meet demand.

Several fabricators we have spoken with have suggested that consumers, designers and architects may be driven to alternative products, such as granite, solid surface or emerging product categories, such as sintered compact surfaces.

Click here to read Cambria’s take on the latest duties on Chinese quartz imports.

Time will tell how this all plays out, but for now there are plenty of opinions ranging across the spectrum.

You may also be interested in these articles on the lead up to these duties/tariffs – preliminary article on Chinese quartz duties/tariffs; secondary article on Chinese quartz duties/tariffs; third article on Chinese quartz duties/tariffs.

We would love to hear your opinions and feedback on this subject. You can post in the comment section here or email us at [email protected].

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USITC Continues Investigating Quartz Antidumping Claim

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USITC Continues Investigating Quartz Antidumping Claim

Posted on 15 June 2018 by CRadmin2

In April, Cambria, the largest U.S. Manufacturer of quartz surfaces, filed a claim that China had violated antidumping laws, suggesting that strict duties be imposed on imported quartz slabs and fabricated countertops. The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) was compelled by law to consider whether this claim had merit by the end of the month.

On May 31, the USITC took a vote and “determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of quartz surface products from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.”

This means that the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) will continue to investigate Cambria’s claim and will make a preliminary countervailing determination on or around July 11, 2018. Pending this proceeding, an antidumping determination is scheduled to be made around September 24, 2018.

“Dumped and subsidized Chinese imports are harming American workers, American businesses and American manufacturing,” stated Marty Davis, President and CEO of Cambria.  “We are encouraged by the actions taken thus far by both the Department of Commerce and the ITC to stop this unfair trading and restore a level playing field where we can compete fairly in a free-market economy.  The unfairly traded Chinese imports have disrupted healthy competition and threaten to gravely injure the quartz surfaces product industry at all levels of trade in the U.S.”

The Freedonia Group, a prominent industrial research company that publishes a comprehensive countertop industry outlook, also weighed in on the matter. According to the firm, China accounts for nearly half of the total quartz used in the U.S., and since 2012, imports have surged in response to growth in the engineered stone market. This has caused a slide in the market share from the leading producers, such as Cambria, Cosentino and Caesarstone.

“If antidumping and countervailing duties are imposed as expected, this will have an immediate impact on average slab prices, said Michael Hurley, an analyst for the Freedonia Group.” Hurley went on to explain that imports from China will rise in price, and the demand will increase for quartz slabs produced at with raw materials that are more expensive, which will raise average price levels.

In addition, higher material costs will make countertops made from competitive materials more attractive.

“This will slow engineered stone countertop market growth in area terms to some degree,” predicted Hurley. However, he quickly added that engineered stone will remain the fastest-growing countertop material through at least 2022.

Others believe that the Chinese will find loopholes should duties be imposed, and inexpensive quartz will continue to be available with little, if any, disruption. The jury is still out on what will actually happen should duties be imposed on Chinese quartz, but we here at CountertopResource.com will be watching this story closely and keeping you updated every step of the way.

The full report of the initial USITC investigation will be available to the public as soon as June 29 on the USITC website.

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MSI Challenges Cambria Antidumping Petition

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MSI Challenges Cambria Antidumping Petition

Posted on 04 May 2018 by CRadmin2

On May 1, MS International (MSI), well-known as one of the largest importers of quartz surfacing, filed a challenge to Cambria’s petition for antidumping duties on imported Chinese quartz. According to the MSI’s submission, filed by the Hogan Lovells international law firm, Cambria does not have the proper standing to file an antidumping petition.

In April, Cambria filed a Petition for the Imposition of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties, claiming that China was dumping quartz surfaces into the U.S. market at prices up to 455.65 percent lower than its actual value. If the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission find this to be true, strict tariffs could be imposed on Chinese quartz imported into the U.S.

MSI has objected to Cambria’s petition on two grounds. By law, such petitions may only be filed by one or more businesses that make up more than 50 percent of the market. Cambria claims that it alone meets this criteria. However, MSI believes this is not the case, especially because Cambria has included prefabricated quartz surfaces in the antidumping charges but did not include U.S. fabricators in its assessment of market share.

According to the MSI Cambria’s initial petition was based merely on the proposed, fact that the company owns “five of the nine production lines for non-fabricated quartz surfaces in the U.S.” MSI believes this, in and of itself, is insufficient to prove a 50 percent market share, thus invalidating Cambria’s petition.

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Formica Group Opens New Laminate Plant in China

Posted on 12 November 2013 by cradmin

formica plant in China w

Formica Group opened a new laminate production facility in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province of China. It is one of the largest facilities in Formica Group’s international operations, and marks a substantial new phase of development in Asia for Formica Group and its parent company, Fletcher Building. Government officials from Jiujiang City were in attendance as the doors to the new modern plant opened on November 7, 2013, two years after Formica Group and the Jiujiang government signed an agreement for the plant to be built.The plant houses 10 production presses which are capable of producing more than 484 million square meters of laminate a year when fully in operation. It is the only facility in China capable of providing high pressure laminate sized 6 by 14 ft., for which there reportedly is high demand from China and Europe.

Fletcher Building chief executive Mark Adamson reportedly said that China is a key global player in decorative materials production, consumption and exportation, and that the new Jiujiang plant sets a new benchmark for sustainable production in the decorative materials industry. “Fletcher Building as well as Formica Group has made a considerable investment in best practice material sourcing, waste management, energy efficiency, and emission control,” said Adamson.

Paul Zuckerman, chief executive of Fletcher Building’s Laminates and Panels Division, said China’€™s rapid economic development has boosted demand for better commercial and residential working and living environments. “This will boost demand for green, multi-functional and high-quality laminate surfacing products,” said Zuckerman. “As part of our global strategy, Formica Decorative Materials (China) Co. Ltd. will not only feed China’s rapidly growing appetite for top quality laminate products, but also create maximum values to other markets.”

The new facility reportedly has a number of sustainable technologies in use, such as:

  • Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) industrial process for the treatment of exhaust air from phenolic impregnators, which reduces exhaust emissions
  • Regenerative carbon absorption equipment to treat exhaust air from melamine resin impregnators and the resin manufacturing plant
  • Advanced ventilation and air conditioning systems that comply with the strictest national standards
  • Modern building insulation methods and lighting controls to minimize energy consumption
  • The latest resin formula and production controls to limit environmental impact
  • Modern dust collection systems to minimize atmospheric emissions and make dust available for recycling in other industries
  • Up-to-date heat recovery equipment on all production presses; and
  • A rainwater collecting system to reuse the water for gardening and cleaning.

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Duties Potentially Levied Against Chinese ‘Drawn’ Stainless Steel Sinks

Posted on 07 August 2012 by cradmin

The U.S. Commerce Department issued a second preliminary anti-dumping decision in late 2012 in response to Chinese stainless steel drawn sinks. The determination was that Chinese manufacturers sold drawn stainless steel sinks in the United States at prices significantly below fair value, in violation of U.S.law and international trade rules. Prices were 54 to 77 percent below fair value. In response to this ruling, Chinese companies are required to pay cash deposits ranging from 50 to 76 percent of the customs value  on drawn stainless steel sinks imported into the United States.

In a preliminary finding in late July by the U.S. Commerce Department. Information regarding the ruling released on July 31, finds that drawn stainless steel sinks imported from China have been subsidized to the tune of 2.12 to 13.94 percent and countervailing duties will be imposed.

The ruling is the result of petitions filed in 2012 by Elkay Manufacturing Co. Oak Brook, Ill., that sought protection under anti-dumping laws, which allege sinks were produced and sold below value because of Chinese government subsidies.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will now require cash deposits on imported sinks at ports of entry. The rates correspond to subsidies given to Chinese producers and exporters.

Guangdong Yingao Kitchen Utensils Co. Ltd. of Foshan City faces a 2.15 percent duty penalty. And sinks from Zhongshan Superte Kitchenware Co. Ltd. of Zhongshan City (including those exported by Foshan Zhaosuhn Trade Co. Ltd.) face a 13.94 percent additional duty.  All other Chinese producers will be hit with a 8.08 percent countervailing duty.

The merchandise covered by this investigation is drawn stainless steel sinks from China. Drawn stainless steel sinks are stainless steel sinks with single or multiple drawn bowls and a smooth basin with seamless, smooth, and rounded corners, including both drop-in and undermount configurations.

Specifically excluded from the scope of this investigation are stainless steel sinks with fabricated bowls. Fabricated bowls do not have seamless corners, but rather are made by notching and bending the stainless steel, and then welding and finishing the vertical corners to form the bowls. Stainless steel sinks with fabricated bowls may sometimes be referred to as “zero radius” or “near zero radius” sinks.

Final determinations set for October. If the inquries show material injury to domestic sink producers, additional countervailing duties will be levied, likely in November.

Download the official Department of Commerce Fact Sheet Here

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