Tariffs, duties, customs, anti-dumping.
These terms have become a part of our everyday business vernacular, and definitely should be on your radar. New duty updates are coming our way, and they potentially impact all of us in the wood flooring industry. Here’s a basic, quick refresher on how they may impact multi-layered wood flooring (MLWF) containing two or more layers or plies of wood veneers assembled with a core. We commonly refer to MLWF as engineered wood flooring.
There are three major types of duties or tariffs currently applied to wood flooring in the U.S.:
Standard Customs Duty (0-8%)
Usually 0 to 8 percent for Chinese engineered wood imports (species and structure-dependent)
This duty is meant to support U.S.-based businesses by charging a premium on products manufactured internationally. The typical range is 0 to 8 percent for engineered wood imported from China and varies by species and structure. Most plywood engineered flooring has an 8 percent standard customs duty.
China Import Tariff (30%)
This is the recently announced additional 30 percent tariff for flooring items imported from China. Virtually all types of flooring manufactured in China, resilient and wood alike, are impacted by this tariff.
Anti-Dumping Duty Rate (42.57%)
Announced July 30, 2019
• There are a lot of complexities to the concept of “dumping,” but in essence, this occurs when the U.S. Government determines that manufacturers in a particular country are loading inventory into the U.S. at unfair low costs. This is the case with wood flooring imported from China categorized as MLWF.
• A new antidumping duty final rate for certain MLWF imports from China was announced July 30. With the exception of a few manufacturers, the deposit rate for MLWF products imported from China of 42.57 percent started the beginning of August and will continue until a new rate is announced in mid-2020. In addition, importers of record will be responsible for paying a retroactive rate of this same amount on product that cleared Customs from Dec. 1, 2016 through Nov. 30, 2017. Products from Sino-Maple will have a rate of 83.15 percent during this same time period.
• Even if you are not an importer of record, you can expect a healthy increase to the MLWF products you purchase.
• The rate for the past two years has been zero, so this duty may be off your radar.
Jennifer Zimmerman, Esquire, is General Counsel of AHF Products based in Mountville, Pennsylvania. Jennifer has worked as an in-house attorney in the flooring industry for more than a decade and has significant experience with global trade and regulatory matters related to floor coverings. She holds a J.D from Widener University School of Law and a B.A. from George Washington University.