Stoughton Trailers has filed an unfair trade petition regarding imports of 53-foot domestic dry containers from China.
The petition, filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission, asserts that imports of the product are sold in the United States at dumped and subsidized prices, and that Chinese manufacturers have gained an unfair competitive advantage through these unfair trade practices.
The petition also asserts that Stoughton Trailers, LLC, which currently accounts for all of the known installed manufacturing capacity in the U.S. to produce domestic containers, has suffered material competitive injury as a result of these unfair trade practices. According to the petition, the domestic container manufacturing industry in the U.S. has been “materially retarded,” that is, abnormally prevented from growing and developing as it otherwise would have in a truly free market, as a result of the Chinese imports.
The petition requests that the U.S. government investigate these unfair trade practices and their harmful impact on the domestic container manufacturing industry in the U.S., and to apply antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of these containers from China in order to restore competitive parity in the U.S. market and to allow the domestic container manufacturing industry to naturally develop in the U.S. The petition documents antidumping and countervailing duty margins in excess of 50 percent.
Over the last several years, the market share of domestic containers captured by manufacturers in China has grown to over 95% of the market. According to Robert P. Wahlin, President of Stoughton Trailers, LLC, the market share growth by these Chinese companies has not been earned on a “level playing field” as China does not abide by the same rules as U.S. manufacturers.
“China has ‘dumped’ domestic container products into the U.S. market at prices that are well below fair value,” said Mr. Wahlin. “Furthermore, Chinese manufacturers receive an array of government subsidies, not to mention that country’s manipulation of currency exchange rates. All of these factors equate to an enormous unfair advantage for Chinese manufacturers of these products. This unfair advantage has injured Stoughton Trailers, LLC specifically, and has precluded the competitive establishment of a 53-foot cargo container manufacturing industry in the U.S. generally.”
“The goal in filing this petition is to ensure that all of the participants in this important market - Stoughton Trailers as well as our Chinese competitors - have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field,” added Mr. Wahlin. “This petition, if successful, will also help ensure that America has a strong, domestically based industry to manufacture, sell, and service domestic containers. For our company, and for the communities which we support, this could also mean more well-paying manufacturing jobs.”
In line with regulatory timelines, a preliminary ruling and escrow deposit requirement could be implemented by mid to late summer 2014 and a final ruling and duty could be implemented by early 2015.