Home Products International, Inc., a housewares maker, on Monday announced that it filed an action with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, seeking relief from a surge in the importation of illegally priced Chinese ironing boards. HPI's petition demands the imposition of anti-dumping tariffs on the imported Chinese ironing boards.
HPI's petition, filed pursuant to U.S. anti-dumping laws, was a measure of last resort for the Chicago, IL, U.S.-based company, which has ironing board manufacturing facilities in Seymour, IN, U.S.
"We tried to counteract the flood of Chinese imports by enhancing production efficiency and downsizing our labor force. Despite our best efforts, we cannot decrease production costs enough to compete with these ironing boards offered to retailers at such unreasonably low prices," stated James R. Tennant, chairman and CEO of HPI. "The company took this action to prevent further erosion of its U.S. ironing board production operations and to preserve hundreds of manufacturing jobs at our Seymour location."
Of the various legal options available, HPI chose to pursue relief under anti-dumping statutes, which, if granted, would result in the imposition of a tariff on the imports to adjust their price to a fair market level. Relief under alternative provisions could have resulted in the establishment of quotas on ironing board imports from China, or a combination of tariffs and quotas.
Mr. Tennant noted, "HPI is not seeking to prohibit the import of ironing boards from China; HPI is just trying to ensure that the pricing is fair."
Comprising less than 3 percent of the U.S. ironing board market in 2000, the company reported that current projections indicate that Chinese imports will represent nearly 50 percent of the market in 2003. Up until this rapid increase in Chinese imports, the ironing board market was not typically subject to such dramatic fluctuations.
Mr. Tennant concluded, "The steep increase in the number of Chinese imports is not the result of any technological advantages enjoyed by the Chinese. They do not have any quality advantage, nor have they introduced any new innovative products. The only reason for the rapid growth of Chinese ironing boards in the U.S. market is unfair pricing. HPI is confident that the investigation of this matter by the Commerce Department and the ITC will mandate a remedy to restore fairness to the U.S. ironing board market."
to Daily News