Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, recently announced preliminary findings regarding antidumping duty investigations related to imported tool chests and cabinets from China and Vietnam. The investigation stems from a petition submitted by Waterloo Industries, a manufacturer of tool storage products in Sedalia, Missouri.
The Commerce Department found that the tool chests and cabinets from China were being sold in the United States at 90 to 168 percent less than fair value. The products from Vietnam were being sold at discounts as high as 230 percent less than fair value. Selling these products at levels so far below the average market value violates U.S. Trade Laws.
As a result of the investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have been ordered to collect cash from importers of tool chests and cabinets from China and Vietnam. These de facto tariffs help offset the discounts and thus create a more competitive pricing structure. According to the DOC, 2016 imports of tool chests and cabinets from China and Vietnam were valued at $230 million and $77 million, respectively. The totals from Vietnam have risen from $19 million in just three years.
Since January of this year, the Department of Commerce (DOC) has initiated duty investigations in 77 cases involving antidumping and countervailing – a 61 percent increase from 2016. There are currently 412 antidumping and countervailing duty orders set up to ensure fair trade and manage import pricing. The department’s final assessment of this specific situation will be made available in March 2018.