Just for a change, China is in the headlines over potentially dumping finished ceramic products. And also, just for a change, as AC went to press, Donald Trump had sent stock markets tumbling – again – after threatening to essentially massively increase the tariff burden on China. If the threat becomes reality, and tariffs are raised to 25%, then, according to one major ceramic maker in China, “there would be very little chance for Chinese ceramics exports in the US” Not only that, it was thought that this would amount to roughly 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) of losses each year for Chinese ceramics exports, and highlighted fears that other Western countries could potentially follow US policy.
It seems the mood is not restricted to government however. With the news this month also that tile manufacturers are petitioning the US authorities with regards to the imposition of tile duty on “dumped” products. Added to that, the industry’s leading manufacturing organization in the USA has also confirmed its support to the move.
Indeed, Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), the trade association of America’s ceramic tile producers, issued a statement in response to the filing by domestic tile manufacturers of a Petition with the federal government, seeking tariff relief from dumped and subsidized imports of tile from China (see International News in this issue):
“America’s tile manufacturers are happy to compete against fairly traded imports. We have been hammered, though, by a flood of unfairly traded imports from China. Chinese tile producers benefit from extensive government subsidies and dump their tile into the United States at ridiculously low prices,” said Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America. “Domestic manufacturers had no choice but to seek relief from the federal government from these unfairly traded imports. The future of the U.S. industry and of our member companies’ thousands of employees and their families depends on it.”
Today, several of the largest U.S. ceramic tile manufacturers filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions with the federal government. The industry’s anti-dumping petition seeks the imposition of tariffs on imports of ceramic tile from China to remedy unfairly low-priced imports that have injured domestic manufacturers. The countervailing duty petition seeks the imposition of tariffs to remedy the impact of Chinese government subsidies – subsidies that have resulted in low-priced imports that have injured domestic manufacturers. If the federal government, after an investigation, agrees that Chinese imports are unfairly traded and have injured or threaten to injure U.S. tile manufacturers, the government will impose tariffs on Chinese imports. The government would first impose preliminary tariffs in a few months, and would impose final tariffs at the conclusion of its investigation in approximately 16 months.
The trading future with China remains uncertain for sure, but there can be no doubt that the tide of Chinese ceramic exports to North America, and perhaps even then to Europe as a knock-on, is about to change forever….and who knows what that is going to do to prices….
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