Volume 48, Issue 1 - January 2013


Chinese Curtainwall Subject to Tariff;
Canadian Producers Appeal CITT Rule

The issue of imported Chinese curtainwall has been one of discussion lately in both the U.S. and Canadian governments. In December the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) issued a ruling that imports of unitized Chinese curtainwall are now subject to a tariff. Likewise, Canada-based curtainwall manufacturers filed an appeal with the Federal Court of Appeal in late November 2012 seeking a reverse ruling to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal’s (CITT) decision to close its investigation of the alleged injurious dumping and subsidizing of certain unitized wall modules from China.

In the U.S., the DOC’s decision came as a result of its ruling regarding the Antidumping Duty (AD) and Countervailing Duty (CCVD) Orders on Curtain Wall Units and Other Parts of a Curtain Wall System from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Northern California Glass Management Association (NCGMA) had filed a scope inquiry August 24, 2012, requesting that the DOC confirm that curtainwall units and other parts of curtainwall systems are within the scope of the Orders and the Curtain Wall Coalition (CWC) filed an amended scope inquiry. The DOC’s decision determines that the curtainwall systems are within the scope of the orders. The CWC asserts that the language of the scope clearly states that curtainwall units and other parts of curtainwalls are covered by the scope of the Orders.

In the memorandum, the DOC said it examined the language of the Orders and the description of the products contained in this scope request, as well as the description of subject merchandise in the investigation. It found that the scope and descriptions of the merchandise in the investigation are dispositive as to whether the products at issue are subject merchandise. “Accordingly, for this determination, the Department finds it unnecessary to consider additional factors specified in 19 CFR 351.225(k) (2),” reads the decision.

The scope of the Orders specifically lists curtainwall as being subject to the Orders. Subject aluminum extrusions may be described at the time of importation as parts for final finished products that are assembled after importation, including, but not limited to, window frames, door frames, solar panels, curtainwalls or furniture.

The DOC’s decision has seen a range of responses from those in the curtainwall industry. As John D’Amario, sales manager of Yuanda USA Corporation, states, “Either way, it’s amazing that three glazing contractors from Northern California can pose as manufacturers and successfully mislead the government for the purpose of minimizing competition in their marketplace.”

In the government-issued press release, the DOC disagrees with the claims of Yuanda, Jangho, and Overgaard & Bucher, companies in opposition, stating that “the CWC’s lack of standing is evidenced by the fact that none of its members were identified in the underlying petition nor were identified as members of the U.S. industry by the ITC. The mere fact that a domestic manufacturer was not identified in the underlying petition or the ITC may not serve as a basis for concluding that an entity lacks standing.”

Others think the decision is a positive step forward.

“This is a great day for our industry here in the United States,” says Edward Zaucha, CEO of APG International Inc., who is also involved with the Finishing Contractors Association. “We have had these companies dumping their products (glass included) here in the United States for years.”

Zaucha told USGlass magazine, “The tariff is quite significant (407.3 percent of the aluminum component and fabrication costs of the units) and, quite obviously, will have a dramatic impact on these importers. It is my opinion (and that of other contractors in our industry) that the ruling should be retroactive to the original ruling date because the original ruling quite clearly stated it applied to ‘curtainwalls’ (as the Commerce Department recently ruled),” he says. “Accordingly, our Architectural Glass Sector Committee and various other interested parties are now working with the Department of Commerce and Customs and Border Protection on enforcement and on the question of retroactive enforcement of the penalties and duties that were to be enforced as of the tariff’s enactment in May 2011.”

And in Canada, curtainwall manufacturers appealed with the Federal Court of Appeal in seeking a reverse ruling to the CITT decision to close its investigation of the alleged dumping and subsidizing of certain unitized wall modules from China. The manufacturers allege that CITT made several fundamental errors of law and are now asking that the Federal Court of Appeal reverse the decision. If the appeal is successful, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) would be required to resume its investigation into the dumping and subsidization of imported unitized wall modules from China and the CITT would be required to resume its investigation as to whether imports have caused injury to the Canadian domestic industry. CBSA had launched its investigation last summer after a complaint was filed by several Canada-based curtainwall manufacturers alleging that 80 China-based exporters and 17 China-based importers of unitized wall module products had “caused injury and [were] threatening to cause injury to the Canadian industry producing these goods.”

The CITT closed its investigation last October stating it “cannot conclusively determine if the project-specific losses to two domestic producers might reasonably constitute injury to a major proportion of the total domestic production of like goods.” CITT also stated the complaints’ evidence does not support injury allegations of dumping and subsidizing because the alleged material accumulates to less than 2 percent of the total value of the market for unitized wall modules.

Revenues Down, Even for the Top 20
The top 20 firms in the glazing and curtainwall industry experienced a total revenue decline in 2011, a $50.2 million reduction in market size from 2010, according to the latest report on the top 600 specialty contractors conducted by Engineering News-Record (ENR). The leading industry firms of 2010 ended the year with total sales of $857.1 million while total sales of the top 20 firms dropped to $806.9 million in 2011.

Six of the 20 contractors on the chart displayed higher sales, while nine had a reduction in sales.

Leading the charts in 2010 and again in 2011, Enclos Corp. saw a 3 percent reduction in sales from the previous year from $164.4 million to $160.1 million. Second in line, Harmon Inc. finished the year with $150 million in sales. Walters & Wolf fell one spot on the chart from last year to third with $101.3 million in 2011 from $158.9 million in sales in 2010, a 36-percentage change from the previous year. W & W Glass LLC also dropped a position on the chart from 2010. Listed as fourth in 2011, W & W Glass LLC sales fell 14 percent from $110 million to $95 million.

Giroux Glass Inc. had the most significant reduction in sales on the glazing and curtainwall chart experiencing a 41-percent drop from $33 million in 2010 to $19.3 million in 2011. In contrast, Best Contracting Services Inc. experienced the most significant increase from the previous year. The company concluded 2010 with $8.7 million and in 2011 finished the year with $13.8 million, a 58-percent increase.

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