NORWICH -- In 1998 Lumi-Lite Candle Co. employed as many as 550 people. Today, that number stands at 15.

George Pappas Sr., Lumi-Lite president, said the decline is strictly because of cheaper, foreign-made candles being imported.

A recent decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to change the scope of a previous anti-dumping duty order on foreign-made candle products could help stem the decade-plus slide.

The order change is expected to make it harder for countries such as China to get their candle products through the scoping process, while making it easier for companies like Lumi-Lite, Candle-Lite in Leesburg and Root Candles in Medina to compete.

"We have 15 employees now; it's all because of foreign trade," said Pappas, the company's president. "So I've got mixed emotions right now. A lot of work went into this by (U.S. Sen.) Sherrod Brown and just several senators and representatives. It was very much a bipartisan effort. They are always talking about jobs, but in this case they really did step up."

What prompted the change were scope requests from four import/ export groups between June 2009 and May 2010 for 618 unique candle types "each one the Commerce Department would have to address individually," Pappas said. "The Chinese are always trying to find a way around the dumping order, bringing product below fair market value into this country."

The initial ruling in August 2010 was that only certain types of candles would be subject to the anti-dumping duty order.

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