Ceramic Tile Trade Dispute Splits Industry

by Kacey Larsen

A pair of industry coalitions are at odds over whether U.S. trade officials should impose antidumping and countervailing duties on ceramic and porcelain tile products that are imported from China.

The sharply opposing viewpoints came to light this month, weeks after an alliance of eight U.S. ceramic tile producers filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions with the Commerce Dept. and the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to impose unfair trade penalties on virtually all ceramic and porcelain tile products imported from China. The petitions were filed by the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile, a manufacturing alliance that includes American Wonder Porcelain, Florida Tile, Crossville, Florim USA, Daltile Corp., Landmark Ceramics, Del Conca USA and StonePeak Ceramics.

In response to the April filing, a newly formed coalition, the Ceramic Tile Alliance (CTA)—a broad-based organization of North American importers, distributors, retailers and design professionals—announced it was strongly opposed to the potential duties. If imposed, the CTA charges this would “jeopardize the long-term health and growth of the entire ceramic tile industry against other competing floor and wall products.”

The opposing viewpoints regarding antidumping and countervailing duties for Chinese tile imports mirrors the battle currently underway in the U.S. cabinet industry, where advocates and opponents of antidumping and countervailing duties— manufacturers vs. distributors—have lined up on either side of the emotionally charged issue. Decisions in both cases are scheduled at various times throughout the year, with final determinations expected to be announced by the spring of 2020.

The unfair-trade petitions filed by the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile seek the imposition of penalizing duties of more than 400 percent on virtually all Chinese imports of ceramic and porcelain floor tiles, mosaics and decorative wall tiles.

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