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News & Press: News

Setting the Record Straight on the Trade Battle and Tariff Dodges

Friday, October 19, 2018  
Alexandria, Virginia – A recent Wall Street Journal article, The U.S.-China Trade Battle Spawns a New Era of Tariff Dodges, paints a very one-sided view of the complexities of the current trade environment and code classification.  To bring clarity to this issue and to recognize the efforts and due diligence on behalf of the imported wood products industry, IWPA Executive Director Cindy Squires has issued the following response:

“The surge in code classification rulings reported is not an indication of questionable export classifications, but a sign that importers in this high tariff environment are checking if products are properly classified and asking for government rulings when it is unclear.   Obtaining a classification ruling is one of the specific actions that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stated demonstrates that an importer is fulfilling its legal obligations to comply with the law.  As an industry, we do not support or condone any illegal effort to misclassify or misreport country of origin.

“Tariff classification is complicated.   What is considered circumvention under the law is often counter intuitive.  We counsel our members to learn the rules and work closely with their customs broker and counsel as they qualify suppliers. We have hosted multiple briefings by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for our members to provide additional clarity.  

“The allegation that softwood-faced plywood importers are circumventing the Chinese hardwood plywood AD/CVD orders is simply wrong because the Department of Commerce already found that softwood-faced plywood is expressly excluded from the AD/CVD cases.  

“While tariff dodgers do exist, they represent a small population of those engaged in global trade. In reality, the majority of those engaged in trade are good actors despite the complex and rapidly changing environment.  

“Tariffs are taxes.  They are paid by American families, farmers, businesses, workers and communities. They are not paid by the exporting country.  They are paid here at home.”