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2014 Media Kit
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Hooker Furniture withdraws from Chinese bedroom furniture trade petition

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): International Trade  

Good news for retailers and consumers

Representatives of large and small furniture US retailers hailed the announcement by Hooker Furniture that it had withdrawn from an ill-conceived and counter-productive trade petition filed by a group of domestic furniture manufacturers to cut off access to Chinese wooden bedroom furniture imports. Hooker Furniture issued a statement on February 16 announcing that it had withdrawn from the American Furniture Manufacturers Committee for Legal Trade, the group of US manufacturers that filed the anti-dumping petition, and “will take a neutral position on the anti-dumping issue.”

“Hooker Furniture understood that this petition, if successful, would damage its own customers by causing short term price disruptions and product shortages that would adversely affect sales of bedroom furniture. Instead of ‘saving American jobs’ as claimed by the petitioners, the supply disruption would lead to job losses in the US for retail company employees,” said Mike Veitenheimer, Furniture Retailers Association (FRA) Spokesperson and Vice President and General Counsel for The Bombay Company.

The Furniture Retailers of America (FRA) is comprised of large and small retail companies throughout the US formed to protect its customers from the petition filed with the US International Trade Commission (ITC). FRA members include Rooms To Go, JCPenney’s, Havertys, Crate & Barrel, The Bombay Company, City Furniture, Rhodes Furniture, among others.

In its February 16 statement, Hooker Furniture stated, “Given the fact that domestic bedroom accounted for four percent of Hooker’s total revenues in 2003, we have come to believe that the potential adverse effects on our relationships with our customers and international suppliers outweigh the benefits of continuing to actively support the petition.”

“We hope that other domestic furniture manufacturers come to their senses and abandon the petition, which is a blatant attempt to use the US government to manipulate the bedroom furniture market at the expense of American consumers and independent furniture retail stores,” said Veitenheimer.

The domestic furniture manufacturers helped create the Chinese bedroom furniture industry years ago to obtain access to low-cost, high quality furniture that it then resold directly to American retailers. Some of the petitioners have imported wooden bedroom furniture from China for years and profited by reselling these Chinese imports to major retailers. Once retailers went to China directly, thereby eliminating petitioners’ middlemen profits, the group of domestic producers responded by filing this dumping case with the ITC.

Claims that petitioners were seeking to “save American jobs” were discredited during testimony at International Trade Commission hearings that revealed that a number of the domestic furniture manufacturers had buyers in Vietnam, Brazil and other countries establishing relationships with other foreign manufacturers to replace the Chinese imports and ensure their profits as importers and as middlemen.

“While we are pleased with Hooker Furniture’s decision, we will not rest until we defeat this unjustified petition before more damage is done,” said Veitenheimer.

Petitioners are seeking duties as high as 440%. The petition covers over $1 billion dollars worth of wooden bedroom furniture from China. Affected merchandise would include: wooden beds, headboards, night tables, dressers, bureaus, hutches, armoires, certain book cases or writing tables and a multitude of other furniture products that are or can be used in the bedroom.

The Furniture Retailers of America (FRA) is comprised of large and small retail companies throughout the US formed to protect its customers from a group of domestic furniture manufacturers seeking to restrict consumer access to high quality wooden bedroom furniture by filing an anti-dumping petition with the US International Trade Commission.