Press Releases

Sens. Webb, Warner Urge Enforcement of Trade Duties to Ensure Fair Competition for Virginia Furniture Makers

~ Millions of dollars in antidumping fines remain uncollected ~

Nov 28 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC), sent a joint letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today urging immediate action to collect unpaid duties owed by importers of wooden bedroom furniture made in China.  The bipartisan letter, signed by lawmakers from two states and on both sides of Capitol Hill, asks Secretary Napolitano, who oversees the Customs and Border Patrol agency, to provide specific information on millions of dollars in antidumping fines levied against, but never collected from, dozens of  importers of Chinese-made furniture.   

“The furniture industry in Virginia and across the country has been devastated by unfair trade practices for many years,” said Senator Webb, who has repeatedly expressed concerns about the impact of China’s unfair trade policies and first raised concerns about uncollected duties on Chinese furniture in June 2010.  “American manufacturers and their workers deserve the protections to which they are legally entitled.  The Department of Homeland Security should work to investigate these practices, put a stop to fraudulent activities, and collect outstanding duties.”

“International competition has changed the face of Southside Virginia’s furniture industry in recent years, but there is renewed consumer interest in high-value ‘Made in America’ furniture and other products,” Senator Warner said. “In 2011, the U.S. ceded its title as the world's leading manufacturer to China.  For us to regain that position and strengthen the economy in regions like Southside Virginia, it is critically important that international trade rules are appropriately and fairly enforced.”

"We greatly appreciate the support of Senator Warner and other members of Congress for their continued efforts to protect and expand manufacturing jobs in the United States, " said Doug Bassett, President of Galax’s Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company, and a spokesman for the American Furniture Manufacturers Committee for Legal Trade.