ISFA Press Releases

2019 ISFA Annual Awards

2019 ISFA Board of Directors Announced

2018 ISFA Awards

Fred Huston New Trainer 2018

2017 ISFA Awards

Amy Miller Named Executive Director of ISFA

ISFA 2016 Awards

2016 ISFA Conference & Annual Meeting to Convene in Cancun, Mexico


ISFA Blog

7/2/18 - "A goal without a plan is just a wish."- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
by Amy Miller, Executive Director, ISFA

July 1st marks the halfway point for 2019. How are you doing on your 2019 goals? Are you on target, nearly there, or off-mark? No matter where you fall, NOW is the perfect time to evaluate, examine, and if needed, re-define goals, projects, and targets for the remainder of the year. Below is a 6 step process for completing a mid-year review.

1. Re-visit your organization's Mission / Vision / Values: Is your current work environment in alignment? This is important for both the business owner and the employees. For longevity, all team members need to feel aligned with the over-arching goals of the business.
2. Evaluate your Team: Are the right people on your team? Are they in the right seats? Mid-year evaluations (if not more frequently) are important to retaining top employees. Whether they're doing a great job, or need a shake-up, they need and want to receive your feedback.
3. Evaluate your Resources: This isn't just taking a deep dive into your P&L and balance sheet, this is also taking time to review your building, equipment, and vehicles. Do you have the right resources in place to take you to the finish line? Is maintenance needed for any of these aspects? When business is busy, its easy to overlook some of these areas. Take time now to ensure you don't experience unnecessary downtime due to a resource failure.
4. Review Key Metrics & Goals: Do current measurements indicate that you are on track, ahead, or behind where you anticipated being mid-year.? If you are significantly ahead or behind, consider re-calibrating and establishing new goals for the remainder of the year.
5. Evaluate Projects and Task Assignments: Will the projects and tasks assigned for the remainder of the year actually help you to attain the measurable and quantifiable goals set? If they are just a "nice to have" table and re-prioritize these tasks and projects, otherwise they become a distraction and an excuse for not hitting the business' key goals and objectives. 
6. Phone a Friend: After you've reviewed your mid-year results, phone a friend in the industry that can help you objectively evaluate how you're doing. An outside viewpoint can help to identify blind-spots, unnecessary risks, and opportunities not yet realized. If you're not sure who to call, call ISFA.

We'd be happy to help- that's why we're here! 888-599-ISFA


 

12/14/18 - Additional Duties on Chinese Quartz Imports by Kevin Cole 

Additional Duties on Chinese Quartz Imports Announced 

On Nov. 20, the U.S. government published their preliminary determination that another round of fees, these ones anti-dumping duties, were warranted to be placed on Chinese quartz imports. These fees were the highest so far, since a petition was filed by Cambria back in April. The new duties were set as follows (from lowest to highest): Suzhou Colorquartzstone New Material Co., Shanghai Meiyang Stone Co. and CQ International Ltd. will be set at 242.1 percent; Guangzhou Hercules Quartz Stone Co. will face 262.43 percent in fees; non-individually examined exporters receiving separate rates will face 263.67 percent fees; and all others will face 314.1 percent fees. These fees are retroactive up to 90 days if they are "unliquidated," basically meaning if customs has not already processed them (which can take up to 300 days click Here to understand what the customs term liquate means). Final determination must be issued by April 4. A fact sheet on the latest duties can be found here.

These are in addition to the preliminary countervailing duties set on Sept. 17 which will be 34.38 percent on most quartz products entering the United States from China and 178.45 percent on two particular companies – Fasa Industrial Corp. Ltd. and Foshan Hero Stone Co. Ltd. Final determination must be affirmed by January 19. A fact sheet on the countervailing duties can be found here.

Additionally, President Trump has placed tariffs on numerous Chinese goods as a separate action. These tariffs, which are compounded with the new Chinese quartz anti-dumping duties and the countervailing duties also affect some tile, stone and stoneworking equipment, in addition to quartz products. The initial tariff was 10 percent, but is slated to rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1. However, in a discussion with China in late November, Trump agreed to push the additional 15 percent tariff back 90 days

If these duties are confirmed, the minimum price increase for Chinese quartz will be 300 percent, with some companies facing in excess of 500 percent. The U.S. International Trade Commission pegged Chinese quartz imports at more than 5.6 million sq. meters with a value of almost $460 million (around half of the quartz used in the United States). While it is unknown exactly how these additional fees will affect the U.S. quartz market, researchers at Freedonia have postulated that overall quartz prices will rise in the United States for both fabricators and end users. Additionally, some manufacturers have speculated that there may be supply shortages or a push for alternative surfacing options. In reaction, MSI has lead development of a petition against the fees and has developed a website at www.SaveFabJobs.org where interested parties can sign onto it under the name of the “American Quartz Worker Coalition.”


9/12/18 - Special Bulletin: Quartz Information Update by Kevin Cole

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) announced that it found reason to believe the U.S. quartz manufacturing industry has been materially injured by imports of low-cost Chinese imports being sold at less than fair value after a claim was filed by Cambria. As a result, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, with preliminary countervailing duty and antidumping duty determinations due by September 13 versus July, after Cambria asked for more time to thoroughly investigate Chinese subsidies.

Cambria's petition pegged the price of Chinese quartz being imported into the United States at more than 300 percent below fair market value. While no one is quite sure how countervailing and antidumping duties will affect the quartz countertop market, China is a major source of quartz slab used in the fabrication of engineered stone countertops. “In 2017, the country accounted for about half of the total used in the U.S.,” reports Freedonia Group analyst Matthew Hurley. Since 2012, U.S. imports of quartz slab have surged in response to the robust growth in the U.S. engineered stone countertop market. “During this time, Chinese producers have taken considerable market share away from the leading producers,” said Hurley. “If antidumping and countervailing duties are imposed as expected, this will have an immediate impact on average slab prices. This will slow engineered stone countertop market growth in area terms to some degree.”

It is not known what the duties may be, as that is determined by the U.S. Commerce Department after a final ruling has been made.

While some have spoke out against the duties and others have expressed favor or made no comment at all, it is up to each business, whether manufacturer, distributor or fabricator of quartz products to decide if they believe the additional charges on Chinese quartz will affect them, and whether that will affect them negatively or positively. Because of the varying interests and opinions by fabricators as to whether these governmental actions are positive or negative, ISFA has not taken an official stance, but rather seeks to provide information to the fabrication community so that each business can make its own decision on the matter.

Those wanting more information or to express their opinions on the issue may contact USITC Agents Andrew Medley, Blaine Wiltse or Whitley Herndon at (202) 482-4987, (202) 482-6345, or (202) 482-6274, respectively.

Once the preliminary ruling is finalized in just a few short days, the government will send out questionnaires to producers/manufacturers, importers/distributors and purchasers/fabricators looking for input to solidify the determination within the 75 days allotted by government rules. Once the questionnaires have been returned (and in some cases they can be required to be returned under order of subpoena), then the USITC will finalize it's position.That will be followed by a ruling by the U.S. Commerce Department on how much the countervailing/antidumping duties will be, assuming the preliminary ruling is confirmed.

In an effort to give fabricators in the industry a vehicle to voice their opinions, either pro or con, once the questionnaires are available (they can typically be downloaded from the USITC website), ISFA will send out a follow-up to this special bulletin that includes a link to how one might download a questionnaire for submission.

NOTE: These duties are not related to the ad valorem tariffs that the Trump administration is currently considering (ranging from 10 to 25 percent) on $200 billion of imports from China in more than 6,000 product categories, which includes natural stone, engineered stone such as quartz surfacing, stoneworking machinery and potentially ceramic tile. These new tariffs would be in addition to current rates of 1.9 to 6 percent on stone (plus duties from quartz dumping) and, if implemented, could go into effect in in autumn.