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OTTAWA, March 20, 2009
Concerning a determination under paragraph 76.03(7)(a) of the Special Import Measures Act respecting
On March 6, 2009, pursuant to paragraph 76.03(7)(a) of the Special Import Measures Act, the President of the Canada Border Services Agency determined that the expiry of the findings made by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal on June 18, 2004, in Inquiry No. NQ-2003-003, concerning wood slats originating in or exported from Mexico and the People's Republic of China was likely to result in the continuation or resumption of dumping of the goods into Canada.
For a PDF version of the Statement of Reasons, please click on the following link.
Cet Énoncé des motifs est également disponible en français. Veuillez consulter la section "Information".
This Statement of Reasons is also available in French. Please refer to the "Information" section.
On November 7, 2008, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (Tribunal) issued a Notice of Expiry Review with respect to its findings concerning wood slats originating in or exported from Mexico and the People’s Republic of China (China). As a result, on November 10, 2008, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) began an investigation to determine whether the expiry of the findings is likely to result in the continuation or resumption of dumping of the goods into Canada.
One domestic producer, Store de bois de Montréal inc. 1 (SBM), two importers, Blinds To Go Inc./Le Marché du Store inc. 2 (BTG) and ZMC Metal Coating Inc.3(ZMC), and one Chinese producer, Tieling Excellent Timber Co. Ltd.4 (ETL) provided a response to their respective Expiry Review Questionnaire (ERQ).
SBM provided information in support of the position that if current SIMA measures against Mexico and China expire, continued or resumed dumping of wood slats is likely. All other participating parties did not indicate their positions in this regard.
An analysis of evidence on the record indicates that, during the period of review, Mexican and Chinese wood slats continued to be imported into Canada despite the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) duty rate of 120%. Exporters continued to produce and compete on the international market at low price levels and could now be under increased pressure to lower prices further as the current recession decreases demand.
For the foregoing reasons, the President of the CBSA (President), having considered the relevant information on the record, determined on March 6, 2009, under paragraph 76.03(7)(a) of SIMA, that the expiry of the findings in Inquiry No. NQ 2003-003 made by the Tribunal on June 18, 2004, concerning wood slats originating in or exported from Mexico and China, was likely to result in the continuation or resumption of dumping of the goods into Canada.
The original dumping investigation pertained to wood venetian blinds and wood slats originating in or exported from Mexico and China. It was initiated by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (now the CBSA) on November 21, 2003, following a complaint made by SBM.
On February 19, 2004, the President made a preliminary determination of dumping with respect to these goods. The CBSA was satisfied, at that time, that the goods had been dumped, that the margins of dumping were not insignificant and that the volume of dumped goods was not negligible.
On May 17, 2004, the CBSA issued a final determination that the goods had been dumped and that the margins of dumping were not insignificant.5
During the original investigation, the CBSA considered the wood venetian blinds and slats as one class of goods while the Tribunal found that there were three classes of goods: stock wood venetian blinds (stock blinds); custom wood venetian blinds (custom blinds); and wood slats. The Tribunal's definition of the three classes is as follows:
Wood venetian blinds are used to cover windows of varied dimensions. The blind consists of a head rail made of metal, PVC or other material that houses the mechanisms for positioning the wood slats and activating the cords. Then the blind is made up of ladders, any number of wood slats and a bottom rail that contains pins to hold the cords. Finally, a valance covers the head rail to enhance its appearance. The wood slats, the bottom rail and the valance are manufactured from the same kind of wood and then they are dyed and varnished in the same way as the wood slats to offer a uniform finish. The cords that are used to open and close the blind or to change the position of the wood slats have a tassel decoration at each end. Wands are sometimes supplied to control the tilting operation of the wood slats.
Stock blinds, also called "ready-made" blinds, are blinds made in large quantities in a process that is highly automated and are only available in a limited range of sizes and colours. Stock blinds are imported only from China. The standard dimensions are 48 and 72 inches in height by 23, 30, 37, 44, 51, 58, 65 and 72 inches in width. Stock blinds are exported from China in container lots.
Stock blinds are maintained in inventory by the importer and may be adjusted at the point of sale, with the use of cut-down machines, to meet the needs of the consumer by reducing their width by up to 3.5 inches at each end. Some retailers offer written instructions to customers so they can adjust the height themselves.
Custom blinds are produced only to customer order. They are not maintained in inventory. Custom blinds are available in widths ranging from 12 to 96 inches and are available up to 120 inches in height. They are produced in a large number of colours, and they offer optional accessories and refinements, such as choice of valances, head rail types, ladders, wand or cord, left or right side controls, etc. Custom blinds are manufactured by Canadian producers and fabricators and imported from Mexico and the United States in small quantities. Custom blinds are sold primarily through specialty shops and interior decorators. They are also offered through design centres of large retailers. Custom blinds usually come with a longer warranty, and they are significantly more expensive than stock blinds.
Wood slats are the main component of wood venetian blinds. Usually, wood slats are 1 inch or 2 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick.
On June 18, 2004, the Tribunal concluded that:
The CBSA completed its last reinvestigation to update the normal values and export prices of wood slats on February 6, 2008. The results of this review were made public in Customs Notice 08-008 on February 22, 20089. No exporters cooperated during the course of this reinvestigation and, as a result, all exports of subject goods are subject to SIMA duties of 120% of the declared export prices in accordance with a ministerial specification.
On August 12, 2008, the Tribunal issued a notice concerning the upcoming expiry of its findings10. Based on the available information including information submitted by interested parties, the Tribunal decided that a review of the findings was warranted.
On November 7, 2008, the Tribunal, pursuant to subsection 76.03(3) of SIMA, initiated an expiry review of its findings issued on June 18, 2004, in Inquiry No. NQ 2003-003, concerning wood slats originating in or exported from Mexico and China11. A decision to renew or rescind the findings must be made by July 15, 2009.
On November 10, 2008, the CBSA commenced an expiry review investigation to determine whether the expiry of the findings is likely to result in the continuation or resumption of dumping of the goods from Mexico and China. The President was required to make a determination no later than March 6, 2009.
The goods subject to this expiry review are defined as:
"wood slats originating in or exported from Mexico and China."
Wood slats are the main component of wood venetian blinds. The terms "strips" and "laths" are synonyms of "slats". The type of wood most commonly used to manufacture wood slats is basswood. Other types of wood, such as cherry, white ash, beech, poplar, ramin, samba, red oak and red cedar, may also be used. The wood can be stained, painted, varnished, film-coated or bare. Usually, wood slats are 1 inch or 2 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick.
The CBSA considers bare wood slats originating in Mexico or China that are stained, painted, varnished or film-coated in another country before being imported into Canada to be subject to the Tribunal's injury findings of June 18, 2004.
Wood slats are manufactured in five steps: (1) the wood planks are put on a planer to size them and cut them to the required size and thickness; (2) the wood planks are cut to make wood blocks of specific widths; (3) a handsaw is used to remove knots and imperfections in the wood; (4) the wood blocks are made into wood slats using a moulding machine; and (5) the wood slats are machine-sanded.
The unfinished wood slats are then dyed, painted or varnished. The wood slats are dyed mechanically and dried quickly, generally with the use of ultraviolet rays. The wood slats can also be dyed by hand when certain finishes or colours are required.
Wood slats are normally imported into Canada under the following Harmonized System (HS) classification numbers:
These two HS codes are for convenience of reference only. Reference should be made to the product definition for authoritative details regarding the subject goods.
The period of review (POR) for the CBSA expiry review investigation in respect of sales and costing data requested from participants was from January 1, 2006 to September 30, 2008.
Only one Canadian producer of wood slats participated in the CBSA expiry review investigation. Despite the fact that the Canadian Producer's ERQ12 was sent to three integrated wood venetian blind producers, i.e., producers that manufacture wood slats and use them in the production of their wood venetian blinds13, only one, SBM, provided a response. Accordingly, it is not known whether the other two firms have any current production capacity of wood slats.
SBM was established in Canada in 1995 and began producing wood slats in 1999. SBM's primary business is the production and sale of custom wood venetian blinds. It also produces and sells plastic and aluminum blinds.
The apparent Canadian market for wood slats could not be determined for the following reasons:
Subject goods were imported into Canada from both Mexico and China during the POR. In this regard, all Mexican wood slats and 74% of the Chinese wood slats were exported from the United States. SIMA duties were assessed on these subject importations.
The ERQs requested information relevant to the consideration of the expiry review factors found under section 37.2 of the Special Import Measures Regulations (SIMR). Any persons or governments having an interest in this investigation were also invited to provide a submission regarding the effect the expiry of the Tribunal's findings would have on the continuation or resumption of dumping.
The Canadian producer, SBM, provided a full response to the ERQ, emphasizing that the dumping is likely to continue or resume should the Tribunal's findings expire. SBM did not provide case arguments or reply submissions.
Two Canadian importers, BTG and ZMC, provided a response to the ERQ. No subsequent case arguments or reply submissions were received from these importers. Both relayed that there is currently a decrease in demand for wood slats in Canada 18 but did not indicate a position as to whether the findings should be allowed to expire.
One Chinese producer, ETL, provided a response to the ERQ. No subsequent case arguments or reply submissions were received from ETL. ETL did not export to Canada during the POR 19 but maintained a commercial relationship with a Canadian importer 20. ETL expressed an interest in supplying the Canadian market in the future and indicated that it did not believe wood slats were being dumped into Canada from China21.
No other person or government provided a submission with respect to this expiry review investigation.
The information used and considered by the President for purposes of this expiry review proceeding is contained on the administrative record. The administrative record includes the exhibits listed on the CBSA's Exhibit Listing. This is comprised of the Tribunal's administrative record at initiation of the expiry review, CBSA exhibits and information submitted by interested persons, including information which they feel is relevant to the decision as to whether dumping is likely to continue or resume, if the findings expire. This information may consist of expert analysts reports, excerpts from trade magazines and newspapers, orders and findings issued by authorities of Canada or of a country other than Canada, documents from international trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization or responses to the ERQs submitted by Canadian producers, importers and exporters. In this case, very little information was available from these sources.
For purposes of an expiry review investigation, the CBSA sets a date after which no "new" information may be placed on the administrative record. This is referred to as the "closing of the record date." This allows participants time to prepare their case briefs and reply submissions based on the information that is on the administrative record as of the closing of the record date.
The closing of the record date for this expiry review was December 29, 2008. In accordance with the CBSA's guidelines on the Conduct of Expiry Review Investigations under the Special Import Measures Act, the President will normally not consider any new information submitted by participants subsequent to the closing of the record date. However, in certain exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to permit new information to be submitted. The President will consider the following factors in deciding whether to accept new information submitted after the closing of the record date:
Participants wishing to file new information after the closing of the record date, either separately or in case arguments or reply submissions, must identify this information so that the President can decide whether it will be included in the record for purposes of the determination.
On December 30, 2008, the CBSA received a response to the exporter's ERQ from ETL. After due consideration, the CBSA decided to accept the response as the information was considered relevant and could be taken into consideration by the President in making the determination. Participants were then given the opportunity, until January 15, 2009, to review ETL's response.
Although SBM did not submit case arguments, it did express its position in the ERQ response.
SBM believes that it has not been able to sell wood slats on the Canadian market because of the presence of low priced Mexican and Chinese wood slats 22.
Although SIMA measures have been in place in Canada for the last five years, Mexican and Chinese wood slats have continued to enter the country 23.
SBM believes that importers have avoided the payment of SIMA duties on Mexican and Chinese wood slats by purchasing them from the United States. It alleges that these goods have been shipped from Mexico and China as bare wood slats, finished in the United States and then shipped to Canada as American goods 24. Canadian importers have declared the wood slats as American goods and have not indicated that they originated in Mexico and China and are also subject to SIMA duties.
Accordingly, SBM is of the opinion that the Tribunal's findings have not been effectively enforced since the findings have been in place. 25
SBM relayed that the world recession has caused a contraction of new home construction and that this has caused a decrease in the demand for wood slats.26
SBM also indicated that China has a very large production capacity of wood slats. 27
It is of the opinion that if Chinese producers continue to maintain their current production levels, they will have to lower selling prices even further to combat the decrease in demand and that these lower prices will inevitably spill into the Canadian market, be it directly from China or indirectly through the United States.
Consequently, without Canadian SIMA measures in place, SBM believes that Chinese wood slats will enter the country at even lower price levels than they have in the past. 28
SBM is also of the opinion that the lack of cooperation from the Mexican and the Chinese exporters is an indication of their tendency to dump. 29
Should the findings be allowed to expire, SBM is of the opinion that continued or resumed dumping of wood slats originating in or exported from Mexico and China is likely.
No parties participating in the expiry review expressed opinions or submitted arguments contending that resumed or continued dumping is not likely if the findings expire.
On November 7, 2008, the Tribunal's Notice of Expiry Review of Findings was sent to 11 exporters, which represented all potential Mexican and Chinese wood slat exporters known to the CBSA. Information concerning these exporters was obtained from Canadian entry documents for subject importations into Canada and from information taken from previous wood slat investigations. These parties were advised to contact the CBSA to obtain a copy of the ERQ. They were further advised that the information received as a result of this expiry review investigation would allow the CBSA to conclude whether the expiry of the findings would likely result in the continuation or resumption of dumping. A complete response to the questionnaire was requested at the CBSA office in Ottawa, Canada, by December 17, 2008.
None of the 11 exporters provided a submission with regard to this expiry review investigation. However, as mentioned above, one Chinese producer, ETL, who indicated interest in exporting to Canada, provided a response to the ERQ after December 29, 2008.
In deciding whether the expiry of the findings is likely to result in the continuation or resumption of dumping, the CBSA may consider any factor specifically identified in paragraphs (a) to (i) of subsection 37.2(1) of SIMR, as well as any other factors relevant in the circumstances.
The CBSA received very limited co-operation from interested parties with regard to this expiry review investigation. Similarly, on the public domain, the CBSA found very little information concerning the wood slat industry. An explanation for this is that it is too small an industry to justify any specific product coverage in trade and business media publications. Furthermore, wood slats are simply a component of wood venetian blinds.
Based on an examination of the factors found under subsection 37.2(1) of SIMR and on the information included on the administrative record, the ensuing list provides a summary of the factors considered most relevant to the analysis:
Before presenting a country by country analysis on the issue of likelihood of continued or resumed dumping, one must review how the findings were enforced since the findings were in place.
On May 17, 2004, the CBSA made a final determination that wood venetian blinds and wood slats had been dumped. Only one Mexican exporter provided information that could be used in the investigation. Specific normal values for wood venetian blinds and wood slats were determined for this exporter. The normal values of subject goods from the Mexican and the Chinese exporters, who were part of the sampled group of exporters to whom an RFI was sent but who did not respond, were determined in accordance with a ministerial specification, calculated by advancing the export prices by 120%. The margin of dumping of the subject goods from Mexican and Chinese exporters who were not part of the sampled group to whom an RFI was sent, were determined in accordance with subsection 25.2(1) of SIMR, calculated by advancing the export prices by 28%. 30
On June 18, 2004, the Tribunal issued its findings of material injury with respect to only wood slats from Mexico and China. From that day forward, subject goods were monitored for SIMA purposes. Subsequent to a reinvestigation of the normal values and export prices respecting wood slats, specific normal values were determined for the one cooperative Mexican exporter and one cooperative American exporter. All other exporters were advised that subject goods would be assessed SIMA duties at a rate of 120%, in accordance with a ministerial specification under section 29 of SIMA
On November 14, 2007, the CBSA initiated another reinvestigation. Periodic reinvestigations are necessary to ensure that these values reflect current market conditions. However, this time no cooperation was extended from any of the exporters and the CBSA was unable to update case information. Accordingly, on February 6, 2008, at the conclusion of the reinvestigation, all concerned parties were advised that subject goods would be assessed SIMA duties at a rate of 120%, in accordance with a ministerial specification under section 29 of SIMA. 31
As referenced previously, SBM is of the opinion that wood slats from Mexico and China have been entering into Canada through the United States as American goods so as to circumvent the findings. During the period of enforcement, the CBSA was unable to verify whether the findings were being circumvented in this manner.
Subject goods originating in Mexico and China continued to be imported into Canada throughout the POR, be it in small quantities, despite the 120% SIMA duty rate.
According to import documentation, there was only one major importation of Mexican wood slats during the POR. This indicates that commercial relationships between the parties continue to exist.
The fact that a 120% SIMA duty rate was applicable to this importation implies that the wood slats must have been imported at a very low price so that the final products, wood venetian blinds, still remained competitive when sold on the Canadian market.
Mexican wood slats must compete with Chinese wood slats on the world market with regard to price.
With the current world recession, there is now more pressure on Mexican producers to sell at even lower price levels so as to maintain their own production levels and ensure continued viability.
Without SIMA measures in place, wood slat imports from Mexico will likely increase and at lower price levels than in the past.
For the foregoing reasons, the President determined that the expiry of the finding with respect to the dumping into Canada of wood slats from Mexico was likely to result in the continuation or resumption of dumping.
Wood slats originating in China continued to be imported into Canada throughout the POR. This indicates that commercial relationships between the parties continue to exist.
One Chinese producer responded to the ERQ even though it did not ship the subject goods throughout the POR. In its response, this producer specified its interest in selling wood slats to Canada in the future.
The fact that Chinese importations continued throughout the POR even though a 120% SIMA duty rate applied, implies that the wood slats must have been imported at very low prices so that the final products, wood venetian blinds, still remained competitive when sold on the Canadian market.
China has a large production capacity for wood slats and competes on the world market at low price levels.
With the current world recession, there is now more pressure on Chinese producers to sell at even lower price levels to maintain their own production levels and ensure continued viability.
Without SIMA measures in place, wood slat imports from China will likely increase and at lower price levels than in the past.
For the foregoing reasons, the President determined that the expiry of the finding with respect to the dumping into Canada of wood slats from China was likely to result in the continuation or resumption of dumping.
For the purpose of making a determination in this expiry review investigation, the CBSA conducted its analysis within the scope of the factors contained in subsection 37.2(1) of the SIMR. Based on the foregoing consideration of pertinent factors and analysis of evidence on the record, on March 6, 2009, the President of the CBSA determined that the expiry of the findings made by the Tribunal on June 18, 2004, in Inquiry No. NQ-2003-003, concerning wood slats originating in or exported from Mexico and China was likely to result in the continuation or resumption of dumping of the goods to Canada.
On November 7, 2008, the Tribunal initiated an expiry review of its findings made on June 18, 2004, in Inquiry No. NQ-2003-003, to determine whether the expiry of the findings is likely to result in injury or retardation with respect to wood slats from Mexico and China. The Tribunal will make its decision by July 15, 2009.
If the Tribunal determines that the expiry of the findings with respect to the goods from Mexico and China is likely to result in injury or retardation, the findings will be continued in respect of those goods, with or without amendment. If this is the case, the CBSA will continue to levy SIMA duties on dumped importations of wood slats.
If the Tribunal determines that the expiry of the findings with respect to the goods from Mexico and China is unlikely to result in injury or retardation, the findings will be rescinded in respect of those goods. SIMA duties would no longer be levied on importations of wood slats beginning on the date the finding is rescinded.
For further information, please contacted the officer listed below:
Canada Border Services Agency
Anti-dumping and Countervailing Program
SIMA Registry and Disclosure Unit
100 Metcalfe Street, 11thFloor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Original signed by
Trade Programs Directorate