Rep. Peter Welch took the struggle of Vermont's wood product manufacturers with illegal Chinese trade practices to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) this morning. The ITC is the federal regulatory body charged with investigating and adjudicating matters of trade ensuring that US companies compete worldwide on a level playing field.
The Columbia Forest Products Company, a hardwood veneer and plywood manufacturer with a manufacturing facility located in Newport, Vermont, filed a petition with the Commission protesting the dumping of cheap and illegal Chinese hardwood and veneer products that are undercutting businesses in Vermont and around the country. In testimony before the ITC, Welch fully endorsed the company's petition and urged the Commission to take a strong stand on behalf of employers and employees in the industry.
"Thousands of employers and employees of the hardwood veneer and hardwood plywood industry in Vermont and across the country are struggling for survival in the face of the flooding of the market with illegal Chinese hardwood panels," Welch said. "Subsidized Chinese products are illegal under our trade laws and are making it difficult for Vermont companies like Columbia Forest Products to succeed. These companies are not asking for anything more than a level playing field to sell their high quality products. I hope the Commission acts favorably on this petition and sends a shot across the bow to China to stop dumping their wood products in the marketplace."
In a related effort, Welch is circulating a letter to the ITC among House colleagues in strong support of the petitions of U.S. hardwood plywood manufacturers.