In response to a petition filed by Agri-Fab, the U.S. largest producer of tow-behind lawn grooming equipment, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary ruling January 23 that Chinese manufacturers have been exporting lawn grooming equipment to the United States at unfair prices. This decision not only protects the U.S. lawn equipment industry, but also protects American jobs and ensures that U.S. consumers will continue to receive durable lawn care equipment backed by quality, domestic-based service.
In June 2008, Agri-Fab filed an anti-dumping petition on behalf of the domestic tow-behind lawn care equipment industry, urging the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce to investigate unfairly traded tow-behind lawn grooming equipment from China. The petition noted that the prices of imported Chinese products unfairly undersold U.S. producers by significant margins, which meant Chinese manufacturers were gaining a secure foothold in the U.S. market at the expense of domestic manufacturers. Imports of tow-behind lawn-grooming equipment from China surged more than 240 percent from 2005 to 2007.
In a preliminary ruling January 23, the Department of Commerce agreed with Agri-Fab and will now require importers of Chinese products to pay the U.S. government anti-dumping duties beginning at approximately 12 percent, but reaching as high as 324 percent, of the product costs charged by the Chinese suppliers. These percentages will vary depending on the particular Chinese manufacturer/exporter. By the time the Department of Commerce renders its final determination in June 2009, it is expected that the standard dumping duty for all Chinese equipment will be 324 percent.
“The petition was necessary to protect American producers and keep Americans employed,” said Michael Cohan, president of Agri-Fab. “No American firm, especially in today’s economy, should be required to compete against Chinese producers who are selling products similar to ours at less than our costs of materials. Ultimately, the ruling protects our industry and ensures U.S. consumers will continue to receive the quality of products and the superior service they have grown to expect from their domestic manufacturers.”
Tow-behind lawn grooming equipment covered by the petition includes lawn sweepers, lawn seed and grass spreaders, turf aerators and dethatchers.
Agri-Fab is represented in the case by Mark S. Zolno, a partner in the Chicago office of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.