In one of the largest trade cases ever filed against China, the U.S. Department of Commerce has made its preliminary countervailing duty determination on Chinese imports of wooden cabinets and vanities.
Dept. of Commerce preliminarily calculated subsidy rates
from 11 percent to 230 percent on a number of Chinese
cabinet producers. Most companies that cooperated with the
investigation will receive the 16. 41 percentage rate.
The American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance, comprising
many of the largest U.S. cabinet manufacturers, initiated the
petition accusing China of unfair trade practices and commended this action, calling it an important step to address
subsidized cabinet imports.
On the other side of the issue, the American Coalition
of Cabinet Distributors said the finding that the Chinese industry received subsidies from the Chinese government does
not prove that imports of wooden cabinets and vanities from
China caused injury to the petitioner.
Also, ACCD said that the trade petition is an attempt by
a handful of cabinet companies to take advantage of U.S.-China trade tensions.
How is your company affected by this action? What is your
One thing is for sure. If you weren’t paying attention you
may not have noticed that the number of cabinets imported
from China has ramped up quickly.
The United States imported about $4.4 billion worth of
wooden cabinets, vanities and components made in China in
2018, a jump from $3.6 billion in
2016, only two years earlier.
The U.S. Commerce Department will investigate whether
wooden cabinets, vanities and
components made in China are
unfairly subsidized or sold at
lower than market value.
We’re generally in favor of free
trade, but we’ve also seen what has
happened in other parts of our
It may not be accurate to compare cabinet manufacturing with wood residential furniture.
Chinese furniture exports to the U.S. grew dramatically from
1995 to 2005.
Many old-line furniture companies remained in business,
closing their manufacturing operations and moving all sourcing to Asia.
There was a petition applied regarding antidumping
duties, but it came too late to save many stateside jobs. And
when the duties were applied to wood bedroom furniture,
production was moved from China to Vietnam.
Again, it’s not fair to draw a comparison with the residential furniture industry in the early 2000s.
One thing that is different now is there are a lot of efficient cabinet producers that in business and doing well. An
action now might slow the rate of import growth. Once the
jobs are gone, they’re gone for good. ✚
Which side are you on in
China cabinet dispute?
Were cabinets from China unfairly subsidized?
by Karl D. Forth
Karl online at
“How is your company affected by this action? How much have your
company’s cabinet sales been affected by imports in the past two years?”