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Quartz-Surface Import Tariffs Sought for India, Turkey

Category: Stone News Updated: 2019/6/10 Views  Views: 526       Likes  Likes: 122

WASHINGTON - The quartz-slab tariff debate widened this month with two new countries - India and Turkey - accused of unfair trade practices in the United States.

Cambria Company LLC filed a petition on May 8 with the federal government asking for duties on imports from the two countries, citing antidumping and countervailing (subsidized) actions in quartz-slab shipments.

The Eden Prairie, Minn.-based hard-surfaces manufacturer based its complaint on quartz-slab shipments from India and Turkey from February 2018-February 2019.

The petition brought a quick reaction from manufacturers and exporters in the two countries, as well as importers in the United States. And the government of one country - Turkey - served notice of its participation in the coming debate on the tariffs.

Cambria's new petition followed along the lines of its previous filing last April against quartz-slab imports from China. The initial result of that complaint - the preliminary 300-plus tariffs on Chinese quarts - is a key factor in the India-Turkey petition.

“This case is unique, however, in the speed at which dumped and subsidized imports from India and Turkey penetrated the U.S. market after preliminary AD/CVD (antidumping/countervailing) duties were imposed on Chinese imports,” the petition noted.

“In particular, the record demonstrates that while subject imports from India and Turkey had already been steadily increasing during the POI (period of investigation) and, as a result, already causing material injury to the domestic industry, such imports spiked in 2018 after Petitioner (Cambria) received preliminary AD/CVD relief from imports from China.”

In 2018, India and Turkey showed the largest percentage gains in U.S. quartz-slab imports from the previous year among the top 10 countries supplying the United States, according to U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) data and Stone Update's analysis.

India's 11.1 million ft2 showed a 115.6 gain from 2017, while Turkey's 3.5 million ft2 represented a 78 year-to-year growth. India also was the only top 10 country to show consistent monthly growth in shipments to the United States in the second half of 2018 as the China tariff issue unfolded. (For more insight, see Stone Update Magazine's U.S. Hard Surfaces Imports 2018 report.)

For January and February this year - the last two months cited in Cambria's complaint - India shipped 4.6 million ft2 in quartz slabs to the United States for an increase of 401.4 from the first two months of 2018. Turkey's shipments of 1.1 million ft2 bested the January-February 2018 total by 147.

Turkey's eligibility to be included in the tariffs could be in question, as the country's share of all U.S. quartz-slab imports fell just short (at 2.995) of the 3 needed to be a negligible influence under current tariff rules. “However, based on the rate which Turkish imports have quickly increased and penetrated the U.S. market,” the petition noted with the current share, “Turkish imports will imminently exceed 3 of all imports of quartz-surface products.”

Cambria asked that pricing data to compare U.S. products with India's and Turkey's be collected on both 2cm and 3cm quartz slabs in plain white, a white “marble look” with “veining and movement, and with no visible particulates, specks chips or crystals,” and a “neutral-colored” product “with a natural-stone look … with movement and visible particulates, specks, chips or crystals.”

Cambria's filing brought an immediate response as companies filed with the USITC to be included in the coming investigation of the India-Turkey tariffs. A group of Indian manufacturers under the banner of the Federation of the Indian Quartz Industry and the quartz-manufacturing division of Tab Indian Granites Pvt. Ltd. served notice, as well as Turkish manufacturer COANTE. U.S. importers filing notice include MSI, Arizona Tile, Bedrock Quartz, Universal Granite and Marble Incl, Cosmos Marble and Granite and OHM International.

The notices to appear in the case also include the Directorate General for Exports for the Republic of Turkey's Ministry of Trade, and at least one other U.S. quartz-surface manufacturer - LG Hausys America Inc.

The preliminary hearing of the USITC on the India-Turkey tariff action will be May 29 in Washington. Written submissions can be made to the USITC by June 3 using the USITC's Electronic Document Information System. the agency's handbook for filing can be found here.

The India-Turkey petition also received notice from Alan Jorgensen, CEO of West Jordan, Utah-based Bedrock Quartz and an importer/fabricator of quartz surfaces. In an open letter to U.S. fabricators, importers and distributors, he cited the cumulative effect of possible tariffs on Chinese, Indian and Turkish quartz, along with products from members of the European Union under the Airbus-case action.

“Our industry didn't come together strongly on the Chinese case,” he wrote. “Many of you figured your businesses would be better off if imports were curtailed from China. But do you really think that shutting down China, India and Turkey and maybe Spain will benefit our industry of fabricators, importer and suppliers?”

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