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An Examination of Duties and Tariff Activities in the Surfacing Industry

Final Chinese Quartz Duties Set

As reported in June, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) affirmed judgement that the U.S. quartz surfacing manufacturing industry was materially injured by China dumping subsidized quartz surfacing products at less than fair market value. But, failed to rule in favor of “critical circumstances,” which would have allowed duties to be made retroactively.

In July, the U.S. Commerce Department set the final antidumping and countervailing duty levels. While in most cases the anti-dumping duties in the final ruling were slightly lower than the initial assessment in most cases, the countervailing duties were higher than the preliminary rulings.

When combined, importers of quartz products are faced with fees ranging from about 310 percent to more than 500 percent, depending on what company it’s being imported from. These duties are in addition to the 25 percent tariffs President Trump put in place on Chinese goods, which also affect some stone and stoneworking equipment.

The ruling included all quartz products along with products in which glass had been substituted by quartz, which was added mid-way into the process because of claims that Chinese companies were trying to skirt preliminary duties.

The action comes as a result of a petition filed by Cambria back in April of 2018.

Turkish and Indian Duties Investigation Continues

Cambria has subsequently filed a similar petition against both India and Turkey alleging dumping margins that average 344.11 percent for India and 89.38 percent for Turkey. The USITC responded that there is sufficient evidence for the investigation into both countries, and preliminary findings as to countervailing duties are expected in August, while preliminary results as to anti-dumping duties are expected in October.

The petitions have not gone unchallenged, with many importers, fabricators and even domestic producers of quartz arguing against them. The petition also brought a strong reaction from Turkish and Indian manufacturers and exporters, as well as the Turkish government. Experts at research firm Freedonia, have said the additional fees could increase domestic prices and limit supply, which has been echoed by others in opposition, such as the American Quartz Worker Coalition.

Imports of Quartz and Granite Facing Tariffs

Additionally, quartz products (and granite) from the European Union may face up to 100 percent tariffs related to a dispute between the U.S and European manufacturers that dates back more than a decade. The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently found in favor of the United States and the U.S. government is now waiting on a decision by an WTO arbiter as to the proper level of tariffs. However, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) estimates the level of new tariffs could be up to 100 percent of customs value.

Chinese Ceramic Tile Investigation

Also, the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile (CFTCF) made up of eight large U.S. ceramic tile producers, filed a petition alleging Chinese dumping and subsidizing of ceramic tile. The USITC found in late June that there was sufficient evidence for an investigation. However, the timetable has been pushed back for more time to look into the matter, so preliminary findings are now not expected until at least September.

ISFA will continue to monitor these issues to keep you informed.