Statistics and markets

US tile producers petition against unfairly traded Chinese imports

04/06/2019

US ceramic tile companies filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission to impose antidumping duties on Chinese imports.

Eric Astrachan

As reported on April 10, 2019, the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile (FTCT) filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to impose antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of ceramic tile from the People’s Republic of China. The coalition includes American Wonder Porcelain, Crossville, Dal-Tile Corporation, Del Conca USA, Florida Tile, Florim USA, Landmark Ceramics, and StonePeak Ceramics.

 “America’s tile manufacturers are happy to compete against fairly traded imports”, commented Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA, the trade association of America’s ceramic tile producers. “We have been hammered, though, by a flood of unfairly traded imports from China.  Chinese tile producers benefit from extensive government subsidies and dump their tile into the United States at ridiculously low prices. Domestic manufacturers had no choice but to seek relief from the federal government from these unfairly traded imports.  The future of the U.S. industry and of our member companies’ thousands of employees and their families depends on it.”

 

While the total U.S. ceramic tile consumption for 2018 was 3.11 billion sq. ft. (288, 695,197 sq.m), up 1.5% vs. 2017 the US market saw China continue to grow its share of imports and the overall market. China remained the largest exporter of ceramic tile to the U.S. (volume), a position it has held each year since 2015. Chinese imports made up 31.5% of U.S. imports (volume.) in 2018, the highest annual percentage China has ever held of the U.S. import market. The 10% tariff increase on Chinese ceramic tile imports imposed by the Trump administration took effect at the end of Sept., but it is unlikely this will have any meaningful impact on China’s market position.

The United States domestic manufacturers have continually seen its share of the market increase over imports for the past decade until 2018.  U.S. shipments (less exports) in 2018 were 84,593,234 sq.m, down 5.4% from 2017. This marks the first year-over-year decline in domestic shipments since 2009. However, between 2016 and 2018 the US market saw an overall increase of 10.5% growth of imports from all sources (see graph below). Chinese imports grew by 18.6% between 2016 and 2018. To give some historical context for the significant growth of Chinese imports, imports of ceramic tile from China were less than 27,870,912 square meters in 2009, but by 2018 they had grown to nearly 65,032,128 sq.m. The claim of the Coalition is this gain in market share by China came at the direct expense of domestic producers.

The increase of imports into the US also gives any other manufacturer pause before building a factory in the US and hence employing a significant number of the US workforce, which adds additional concerns for the DOC, whose ruling is expected as soon as ninety days from the petition date of April 10,2019.

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