April 25, 2007

Wyden Applauds ITC Investigation into Possible Hardwood Plywood Abuses

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) today announced that the U.S International Trade Commission (ITC) has formally opened an investigation "into the competitive conditions affecting the U.S. wood flooring and hardwood plywood industries."Wyden, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, had requested that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus request the investigation by the ITC. Baucus did so in a February 28, 2007, letter. The ITC's report is due by June 6, 2008.Nearly 2,000 Oregonians work in the U.S. hardwood plywood industry, which Wyden alleges has been damaged by unfair and possibly illegal foreign trading practices."The allegations that have been brought to my attention, particularly relating to hardwood plywood imports from China, are extremely concerning," Wyden said. "Family wage jobs in Oregon and throughout the country are in jeopardy and I am hopeful that the results of the ITC's investigation will help make sure that China starts playing by the rules."In late November 2006, Wyden sent letters to the U.S. Trade Representative, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner expressing his serious concerns regarding a number of Chinese hardwood plywood industry trade practices, which were relayed to him by members of the hardwood plywood industry and others. Practices discussed in the Wyden letter included Chinese hardwood plywood dumping, illegal subsidies, tariff misclassification, fraudulent stamping, and illegal logging.Since then Wyden has held multiple meetings with Administration officials to discuss the allegations made in his letter and to urge them to investigate and take action to address them. On February 2, 2007, USTR filed a World Trade Organization subsidies case against the Chinese that specifically targets the illegal practices of the Chinese hardwood plywood industry. On February 22, 2007, Wyden met with Joe Gonyea III, COO of Timber Products Company, other industry leaders, and workers in Eugene to discuss the effects of the Chinese trade practices and the progress of the case. To read the ITC release announcing its investigation, please go to: http://www.usitc.gov/ext_relations/news_release/2007/er0417ee1.htm