Traditional “Made-to-Order” Cabinet Companies Manipulating Anti-China Trade Sentiment
Executives from America’s innovative “Ready-to-Assemble” (RTA) cabinet industry spoke out today against a cynical trade petition that threatens to damage their companies and the jobs of tens of thousands of American workers employed in the RTA industry. U.S. RTA companies, which provide a limited selection of cabinet offerings that are available to customers in a matter of days, formed the American Coalition of Cabinet Distributors (ACCD) to fight the potentially devastating trade action.
A group of companies in the dominant “made-to-order” cabinet segment filed an anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) petition earlier this year in a bid to capitalize on anti-China trade fever, and wipe out the distinct new RTA segment. The trade case was initiated despite the fact that RTA product accounts for less than 10% of the healthy and still growing U.S. cabinet market—and several of the companies behind the petition have themselves imported cabinet product from China and elsewhere overseas.
Speaking today at the National Press Club, RTA company representatives highlighted a number of critical facts about the RTA segment and the dominant “made-to-order” U.S. cabinet industry:
Robert Hunter, COO, CNC Cabinetry (South Plainfield, NJ): “Every order in [the made-to-order] market segment takes weeks to lay out, plan with designers, and order. Then manufacturing, finishing and assembly takes two to four weeks. In the end, you are waiting six to eight weeks to get your cabinets. Companies in the RTA market do not cater to the clientele that are customizing and waiting these long durations for their cabinets to be completed.”
Chris Graff, EVP of JSI Cabinetry (Fall River, MA): “Many U.S. producers have aging plants in which they typically finish cabinets through spraying by hand. In contrast, many Chinese cabinets are finished on an automated flatline system that produces a thicker, more durable, and more consistent finish. For this reason, the quality and consistency of the finishes for U.S.-produced cabinets is often inferior to that of imported cabinets. In addition, U.S. producers use particleboard in many of their stock cabinets, while our products are exclusively made of hardwood plywood.”
Randy Goldstein, CEO, Kitchen Cabinet Distributors (Raleigh, NC): “This petition is simply an attempt to use current political sentiment against China to eradicate a small but important market segment traditionally supplied by China, to favor the petitioners’ new foreign suppliers in other countries, and to otherwise limit consumer choice in deference to the aging business model of domestic manufacturers. There are cabinet companies in the United States that are struggling because they face a complex set of issues, some of which are self-inflicted and some of which are driven by direct competition from the largest, more cost-efficient manufacturers such as Masterbrand. While it may feel good to point a finger at imports and hide behind a patriotic veneer, the facts are much more complicated.”
Missy O’Daniel, President and CEO of Web-Don, Inc. (Charlotte, NC): “We rarely cross paths with the petitioners in this trade case who are domestic producers of cabinets making made-to-order products. Being in the RTA business requires a big inventory investment for a company of our size. The tight timelines of our customers means we need to have a lot of product on-hand ready to be shipped out the door next-day. We continue to make this investment because we believe that we are serving a specific customer base that the petitioners in this case cannot or will not serve.”
Matt Nicely, Partner, Hughes Hubbard & Reed: “The fair trade laws were simply not meant to be used to impose trade restrictions on imports that are growing their own market in the United States based on distinct, qualitative product characteristics that are unavailable from domestically sourced merchandise. For domestic producers to suggest otherwise—while themselves importing the product—compounds scapegoating with sheer hypocrisy.”
To read the full statements click here.
A video of today’s press briefing is available on the ACCD Facebook page.
The American Coalition of Cabinet Distributors is the voice of small and medium-sized businesses that import, distribute and install ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets in homes and businesses across the United States. Our member companies directly employ tens of thousands of Americans and indirectly support many more.