It’s the oldest family-owned furniture maker in North America and it’s located right here in Central New York, but they’re not being treated with respect. At least that’s what Senator Chuck Schumer says. He tells us that Harden Furniture in Mcconnellsville and other U.S. furniture makers are owed tens of millions of dollars in anti-dumping fees our federal government has failed to collect from illegal Chinese imports.
The Senator says it’s our own government’s fault. The Harden CEO tells us this has been an issue since 2003 when 2 dozen manufacturers asked the government to investigate pricing tactics of Chinese bedroom furniture producers. The investigation showed that Chinese manufacturers were flooding the U.S. Market with cheaper material costs, which is illegal according to international trade laws.
“A petition was filed (in 2003) it was determined they did in fact dump bedroom furniture into this country and duties were imposed,” says Greg Harden, CEO and president of Harden Furniture.
To help compensate U.S. Producers like Harden, the government enforced duties on Chinese wooden furniture imports, whose prices are often low due to illegal trade practices.
“It’s been very effective, it really leveled the playing field, it allowed domestic manufacturers like us who probably would have been driven out of business to survive,” says Harden.
But a decade later…
“There’s some complacency, maybe they’re not doing the jobs the way they should’ve. I also think they’ve allowed producers to avoid paying duty or paying duty at a rate that’s too low,” says Harden.
At Harden Furniture, a bed set could go for about $2400 dollars, a similar piece imported could go for about $1500 dollars, but illegally dumped and you’re looking at a price as low as $900 dollars. Mr. Harden says that’s not right.
“It does create distortions, it does create situations where companies can sell products that are below fair market value,” says Harden.
And Senator Chuck Schumer, who previously worked to impose anti-dumping fees is speaking out. He’s blaming Customs and Border Protection (CBP) who have not been collecting that money. The Senator says our government needs to ensure domestic makers like Harden, get the damages they are owed and that cheap Chinese products are not pricing them out of the market.
As far as a timeline for seeing the $1-million dollars they’re owed, Mr. Harden says he doesn’t know but he hopes it will be this coming year. And we do want to mention that Harden Furniture brings $20-million dollars into Oneida County each year, while employing 250 people.
For a complete look at Senator Schumer’s release:
In 2005, the International Trade Commission (ITC) began to charge a penalty on cheap Chinese wooden furniture imports, whose prices are artificially low due to deceptive and illegal trade practices. The duties imposed ranged from 1 to 198 percent, and initiallywent a long way towards protecting the remaining U.S. furniture manufacturers from further harm, allowing companies like Harden Furniture and L. & J.G. Stickley to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. In 2010, these antidumping duties were set to expirebefore Senator Schumer stepped-in to fight for their renewal. The ITC voted 6-0 in favor of maintaining the duties. However, in recent years the Customs and Border Protection has failed to enforce these duties on cheap illegal imports from countries like China,which has left Harden without approximately $1 million that it is owed.
Dear Secretary Napolitano:
I write today on behalf of one of Central New York’s most iconic wooden furniture producers, Harden Furniture. As a result of a petition filed by this company and others in its industry, the Commerce Department imposed an antidumping duty on imports of woodenbedroom furniture from China in 2005. With my support, these duties were renewed by the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission in 2010.
Harden Furniture and their 250 New York employees face crippling competition from dumped imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China. The duties imposed on dumped imports have gone a long way towards protecting the remaining U.S. wooden furniture companies- including New York’s Harden Furniture – from further harm, and in keeping manufacturing jobs in this industry in the United States. The duties remain necessary to protect these and other U.S. manufacturers, and their employees, from continuation or recurrenceof economic injury.
Reports published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) pursuant to the
Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (“CDSOA”) demonstrate that hundreds of millions of dollars in antidumping duties on imports of wooden furniture from China remain uncollected. These amounts are likely to be understated because the uncollected dutiesreported by CBP do not include data for any uncollected duties for imports that entered after the CDSOA expired on October 1, 2007.
I understand that counsel to the wooden furniture producers attempted to obtain a summary of these antidumping duties that remain uncollected in order to assist CBP in identifying the relevant importer’s collectible assets, under a Freedom Of Information Actrequest, but that CBP’s FOIA officer informed counsel that CBP does not have a summary of the remaining uncollected duties and that CBP is not required to create such a summary in response to a FOIA request.
I remain concerned that CBP does not have a readily available summary of the current status of the uncollected duties. CBP has an obligation to use its best efforts to collect these duties. An obvious first step is to catalogue what remains outstanding andfrom whom – both for entries subject to the fees and those not subject to the fees. It strains credulity to suggest that CBP would not have such a report or could not promptly prepare one.
Again, I am hopeful that CBP will provide Harden and this industry with a summary of all the duties that remain uncollected under the order on wooden furniture from China, including the identities of the importers, the amounts owed by each importer to Harden,and the amount of time the duties owed by each importer have gone uncollected. In addition, please have CBP provide an explanation of the efforts made to date to collect these duties and CBP’s plan for future collection efforts.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter and do not hesitate to contact me as it relates to this request.