Volume 38, Issue 6, June 2003


Asahi Files Glass Importing Complaint in Japan; Investigation Launched

Believing its operations to have been affected by an increasing number of imports from other countries, Japan’s Asahi Glass Corp. has filed a complaint with Japan’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The investigation began when Asahi’s complaint cited the increase in clear and tinted float glass imported from 1997 to August of last year. It was filed under Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act of 2000.

According to a news report, Asahi said clear and tinted float glass prices from China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Thailand and Korea “were undercut between 4 percent and 37 percent … and prices for float glass imports … were depressed at a low 9 percent as of August of last year.” The company added “there were indications of price suppression as profit margins recorded declining trend with a lowest margin of 15 percent as of August last year.”

The complaint targeted the rising imports of glass used for windows, partitions, screens, doors and fluorescent fixtures and glass mirror used for wardrobe doors, bathrooms, 
furniture, projection screens, display cases, decorative wall and ceiling and pillar cases.

The investigation has since been amended.

“Based on our initial investigations, there are reasonable grounds to initiate a preliminary investigation for safeguard measures on the float glass imports,” said Manuel Roxas II, trade secretary.

The new investigation includes clear and tinted float glass used in exterior and interior window and glass openings, curtainwall, showcase windows, furniture applications, interior room partitions, glass for mirrors, safety glass, laminated glass, ballistic glass, tempered glass and other decorative applications. 

The Tariff Commission will make a decision as to whether or not it will impose a “definitive measure” of either a quota restriction or increased tariffs, said the report.


Boy Crushed to Death in Accident;
 Mirror May Not Be the Cause

When a young boy died Saturday May 31st in a store in a suburban Chicago mall, a falling mirror was widely reported to be the cause. Yet further investigation has led to quite a different picture then the one reported so widely. Six-year-old Jonathan Villagomez had been visiting the Express Clothing Store in the Lincolnwood Town mall when a ten-foot high, five-foot wide false wall weighing approximately 300 pounds fell and crushed him. Villagomez was killed as a result of “crushing injuries” to his head, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, which has ruled the death accidental. 

The wall was covered with a floor-to-ceiling mirror affixed to a particle board backed by two-by-fours. Sources familiar with the investigation, who have viewed the accident scene, say it was the false wall that fell on young Villagomez and that the mirror appears to have remained firmly affixed to the particleboard. 

When originally reported, many in the trade in the area assumed the problem was one of mirror adhesion failure. The problem of improperly-installed mirror is not an uncommon one in Chicago. “We have seen a number of cases where unqualified trades are using products such as ‘Liquid Nails’ to attempt to install mirror,” said one expert in the trade who preferred not to be identified. “There are a very limited number of products that can be used for proper mirror installation.”

Even the store’s owner, Limited Brands Inc., has been alerted to problems with mirror installations in its Chicagoland stores. USGlass magazine has learned of a number of instances in which mirrors in Victoria Secret stores have had to be replaced because of improper adhesives. Victoria Secret is also owned by Limited Brands Inc. 

Shoddy mirror installations are not limited to the Limited, however. Sources say the use of improper adhesives had also been discovered at other department stores in the area. “Guys come in and say ‘yeah, I can put your mirror up and do it cheaper than the local glass shop.’ And they do it cheaper, but they don’t do it safely,” the source added.

Anthony Hebron, spokesperson for Limited Brands Inc., provided a statement from the company reiterating its “heartfelt sympathy to the Villagomez family” and saying that it is “completing a comprehensive review of safety and maintenance in all our stores using a nationwide team of national and local experts.” 


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