WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Commerce (DOC) issued a preliminary determination last week that Chinese producers are dumping wire hangers on the U.S. market, and may levy tariffs of up to 221% on imports.
While a final ruling is scheduled for June in the investigation, DOC will order U.S. Customs & Border Protection to collect a cash deposit or bond from Chinese manufacturers immediately. The deposits and any eventual tariffs will depend on how much under fair market value each company sells steel wire hanger products, and will likely be reflected in U.S. suppliers' list prices by the end of the month.
Producers and exporters from China have sold wire hangers to U.S. concerns at a rate of 33% to 221% below fair market value, DOC says. Hanger imports from China have jumped 258% in the last three years, from 1.04 billion pieces in 2005 to 2.70 billion in 2007, with a total value of $68.5 million.
DOC’s antidumping investigation was launched in September based on a petition from Leeds, Ala.-based M&B Metal Products Co., the last wire-hanger manufacturer to maintain any substantial production facilities in North America. The investigation covers steel wire garment hangers fabricated from carbon steel wire, including galvanized, painted, coated and caped models.
If DOC makes a similar final determination and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determines that imports “materially injure” domestic wire-hanger producers, an antidumping order will be issued. DOC will issue its ruling June 2, 2008, and ITC will follow on July 16, 2008. Any antidumping order and tariffs will become effective one week later on July 23, 2008.
Unconfirmed industry rumors say that Chinese exporters have been holding hanger shipments back from U.S. ports in advance of the determination, resulting in spot shortages of certain hangers.