Chinese and US furniture makers at the 9th China International Furniture Expo believe that the anti-dumping charge levied by some US producers against their Chinese rivals would not be successful.
"The anti-dumping charge is more a political issue than a business one. Too many people lost their jobs in the United States and the government just wants to shift the problem to other places," said a US buyer visiting the expo yesterday. He declined to be named.
"The US companies' battle will be fruitless, because China is too important a partner for the American furniture industry to lose," he said.
Lee Ferguson, another US buyer who has done business with Chinese furniture makers for five years, said that even if the US companies win the case, which is expected to be heard in court in October, the situation will not be reversed in the long term since Chinese furniture makers are able to produce quality products at very low prices, he said.
Up to now 32 American firms have accused Chinese manufacturers of violating the anti-dumping code and threatening the US furniture industry.
"It seems difficult to avoid such a battle now," said Cao Yingchao, general-secretary with the China Furniture Association. "But the US companies will find it hard to collect evidence, because we never violated any code, and our competition is just and fair."
Cao also noted that if the US furniture makers win the deal, the sellers would also be affected.
"US furniture sellers will have to pay more for the popular Chinese products, which will result in further unemployment," he said.
The value of China's furniture production rose 30.66 percent year-on-year to hit 129.6 billion yuan (US$15.66 billion) in the first half. Export value jumped nearly 31 percent to US$4 billion, of which almost 30 percent were sold to the United States.
The five-day fair which is held at Shanghai New International Expo Center attracted more than 180 American companies, including Lamlee Oddy Ltd, JCH and Gallery.
(Shanghai Daily September 11, 2003)