Keeping An Eye on Metals Anti-Dumping Cases

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Anti-Dumping, Global Trade

A couple of months ago we wrote several pieces on a metals anti-dumping case involving uncovered mattress innersprings from China, South Africa and Vietnam. The case is still on-going with a postponement of the preliminary determination to July 30, 2008. An extension was granted to petitioners Leggett & Platt by the ITC so that the Department (of Commerce) can conduct a more thorough investigation of the respondents involved. That’s all legalese for preliminary decision-making to occur in late July.

I’d like to remind readers that we are covering this anti-dumping case because it is one of many impacting the metals industry we have previously reported.

We had a chance a while back to catch up with Julie Mendoza, Partner at Troutman Sanders LLP the law firm representing importers. You may recall we have a slightly strong opinion on this case, see above. We wanted to better understand what issues the ITC will be looking at and how importers affected by this case can respond. The primary areas to be examined include the level and type of competition in the marketplace, the effect of the volume of imports into the market, the price effect and the overall impact of the imports on the domestic market. These issues relate to all anti-dumping cases, not just mattress innersprings.

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn. In terms of competition, the ITC will evaluate whether or not different types of innersprings compete on price and whether the domestic market includes both innerspring producers who produce for mattress manufacturers and producers who just produce for their own mattress-making operations. The final aspect of “competition” that the ITC will examine involves whether demand has declined. A decline of course could indicate “harm”. Initial data presented, however, appears to suggest that demand actually increased.

In terms of the volume of imports coming into the US, it appears as though the domestic industry has lost some market share. But volume is only one factor. The price effects of the imports did show that importers were obtaining better priced goods but other factors come into play including volume discounts and payment terms. Though this may appear discouraging, the first leg of an anti-dumping case, a preliminary determination, has a lower evidence requirement than a final determination. So the real question is this, do the imports have a real adverse impact on the innerspring industry? The evidence remains to be seen. If you are an importer or buyer of imported innersprings and are interested in becoming more involved in the case, please contact Kerry Tramel of Lady Americana. Kerry can be reached at 405-951-1369 or by email at kerry “at” ladyamericana “dot” com.

We will continue to cover this case throughout the summer.

–Lisa Reisman

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