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Chinese furniture makers protest US duties
Updated: 2004-06-22 15:10

Chinese furniture makers say they cannot accept a U.S. plan to impose duties of up to 198 percent on wooden beds and other items Washington says are being dumped at artificially low prices in the U.S. market, the International Business Daily reported Monday.

The Chinese furniture industry rejects the U.S. Commerce Department ruling last Friday that imposes punitive tariffs of 4.9 percent to 198.08 percent on Chinese-made beds, dressers, armoires and desks because its manufacturers haven't dumped their products in the United States, said the report.

The newspaper, published by China's Ministry of Commerce, cited Cao Yingchao, secretary general of the China National Furniture Association.

The Bush administration proposed the tariffs, which could take effect next week although a final decision is not expected until December.

The decision has also prompted protests from the Furniture Retailers of America, a group representing some 3,500 retailers.

The disputes over furniture imports erupted as U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao began a four-day visit Monday for talks aimed at boosting U.S. exports to China.

Evans and Chao were to meet Monday with business leaders in Harbin, a city in China's industrial northeast, before traveling to Beijing.

The wooden furniture ruling is one of 17 U.S. antidumping orders placed on Chinese products, and the largest of the 26 cases initiated by the U.S. Commerce Department.

More than two dozen American furniture manufacturers and their unions filed a petition last fall seeking an investigation into China's exports, which accounted for nearly a quarter of the US$4.4 billion in wooden bedroom furniture sales in 2002.

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