U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to enforce existing trade law to protect the domestic candle industry. Signed by U.S. Sens. Brown, Mark Pryor (R-AR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH) and John Boozman (R-AR), the letter asks Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to stand up for American candle producers against pressure from foreign interests seeking to scale back the Antidumping Duty Order against Chinese petroleum wax candles. Antidumping provisions help level the playing field for American manufacturers by preventing a flood of artificially cheap imports.
"Ohio candle makers like Lumi-Lite in Norwalk and Candle-Lite in Leesburg can compete with anyone in the world, but they are undermined by cheap Chinese imports that are priced artificially low due to dumping," Brown said. "By fully enforcing antidumping provisions, we'll ensure a level playing field for American manufacturers."
Sen. Brown heard from Ohio companies--like Lumi-Lite in Norwalk and Candle-Lite in Leesburg--that are concerned the proposed changes would harm the vulnerable domestic candle market. The proposed changes would limit the existing order to only certain shapes and sizes and lead to imported shapes and designs that would no longer be covered by the scope of the Order. This would result in artificially low prices for imported candles.
The full letter to Sec. Locke is below.
January 28, 2011
The Honorable Gary Locke
Secretary of Commerce
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th Street and Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Dear Secretary Locke:
We write to you regarding concerns several of our constituents and the National Candle Association ("NCA") have raised regarding the Department's current proposal to redefine the scope of the Antidumping Duty Order against Petroleum Wax Candles from the People's Republic of China. Our constituents have informed us that foreign producers and importers have made repeated requests to limit the scope and effectiveness of this Antidumping Order. We are concerned that the Department's preliminary proposal to limit the application of the Order to certain candle shapes and sizes will effectively eviscerate the Order, resulting in severe harm to the domestic candle industry well into the future.
Last month, the International Trade Commission (ITC), in its five-year review of the Order, found that the U.S. industry would likely be harmed if the Order were revoked, and that the dumping of candles from China and other countries would likely resume. Similarly, our constituents have informed us that they would be unable to compete with dumped prices on candles in new shapes and sizes, particularly while the economy recovers from the recession. The strength of the U.S. candle industry is built on its creativity and innovation in creating new shapes and designs of candles. However, it is reasonable to believe that if the scope of the Order is limited only to certain shapes and sizes, foreign producers would immediately begin importing candle shapes and designs that would no longer be covered by the scope of the Order. Based on the long history of dumping, it is reasonable to assume that these candles would be sold at dumped prices in the United States. As a result, the U.S. candle industry would be unable to compete against these dumped candles, and producers would be forced to focus on the traditional candle shapes that would remain within the Department's proposed narrow scope definition. Such a result would have a devastating impact the current and future market position of the U.S. candle industry.
We urge you to provide all due, appropriate, and expeditious consideration of the NCA's comments on the Preliminary Results, and to protect the integrity of this highly effective Order, particularly in the current difficult economic times.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.