WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) are pushing the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce for action on antidumping investigations into mattresses imported from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam, and the subsidy investigation regarding mattresses imported from China. The senators sent a letter to ITC Chairman Jason Kearns this week, urging the Commission to make a thorough examination of the facts and evidence pertaining to the antidumping investigations.
In recent years, petitioning companies and other U.S. manufacturers have found themselves at a severe competitive disadvantage due to Chinese imports being sold at less than fair market value. These actions are a violation of U.S. trade laws and have also had adverse effects on companies that supply production materials to mattress manufacturers. An investigation and final affirmative determination from the ITC will ensure preliminary relief for U.S. mattress manufacturers continues, and more importantly, would support thousands of American workers, families and communities.
“There are nine petitioners in these cases, including seven U.S. producers and two unions, representing more than 8,000 workers. These stakeholders have been manufacturing mattresses in the United States for more than 100 years. Around the country, more than 11,000 workers are employed in direct mattress manufacturing, which utilizes a predominantly American-made supply chain of foam, innersprings, and textiles, representing thousands more U.S. jobs that are impacted by the adverse consequences of dumping and subsidization of mattresses,” the senators wrote to ITC Chairman Jason Kearns.
They continued, “The U.S. industry welcomed the 2019 assessment of antidumping duties on Chinese mattress imports. Since that time, foreign producers’ increased imports to the U.S. –dumped on the market at less than fair market value – has continued to prevent U.S. companies from competing on a level playing field, neutralizing any benefits provided by the duties on dumped Chinese imports.
Brown and Blunt also sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, urging the department to prioritize its efforts to investigate unfair trade practices and rigorously apply all of the antidumping and countervailing laws Congress has made available to Commerce to protect and defend American workers and the industries they power.
The Department of Commerce is also conducting antidumping duty investigations regarding mattress dumping. The seven petitioning U.S. producers and two petitioning unions collectively represent 8,000 workers across Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. And as a whole, the domestic mattress industry supports more than 11,000 hardworking employees at manufacturing facilities, with thousands more workers at manufacturing facilities across the U.S. supporting a predominantly domestic supply chain of steel wire rod, wire, machinery, innersprings, chemicals, foam, and textiles.
More than 12,000 American workers are employed in mattress manufacturing across the country, including 173 workers employed at the Tempur Sealy International plant in Medina and 79 Ohio workers at the North Ridgeville Leggett and Platt facility. Tempur Sealy and Leggett and Platt are two of nine petitioners in the Chinese steel dumping case.
“As you know, unfairly-priced imports take sales, reduce profitability, harm overall economic security, and otherwise prevent the domestic industry from competing on a level playing field, negatively impacting American workers, their families, and the communities. Commerce must use every authority available to enforce our trade remedy laws and stand up for American workers and defend the domestic industries that support manufacturing jobs here in the U.S,” the senators wrote in the letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
Both Brown and Blunt have been urging the ITC to side with American workers in its antidumping investigation into mattresses imported from China. The senators first sent a bipartisan letter to former ITC Chairman David S. Johanson in October 2019, pressing ITC to finalize its preliminary decision to side with U.S. mattress manufacturers and workers.
In addition to Brown and Blunt, the letters were also signed by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Todd Young (R-IN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).