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Higgins testifies before U.S. International Trade Commission on behalf of Tonawanda's FMC Corp.

by jmaloni

Submitted

Fri, Jan 17th 2014 08:40 pm

This week, Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., as the commission conducted its third sunset review of the antidumping order against Chinese imports of persulfates.

"FMC Corp. is capable of competing with any persulfate manufacturer in the world, so long as that competition is fair," Higgins said. "It was important for me to personally speak to the International Trade Commission to share the tremendous impact that the FMC Corp.'s manufacturing plant has on the Western New York region, and the harm that Chinese dumping would inflict."

FMC Corp., whose manufacturing plant is located in Tonawanda, is the sole manufacturer of persulfates in the U.S. Since 1997, the ITC has levied an anti-dumping tariff on Chinese imports of persulfates to keep unfairly cheap persulfates out of the U.S. market. The ITC conducts a review every five years to determine whether a tariff is still needed.

This hearing is the final step before the ITC makes a decision on the tariff, although the timing of a final decision is unknown.

The community impact of the Tonawanda plant is estimated at $18.6 million, which includes payroll and benefits to approximately 100 employees, in addition to support for local suppliers and contractors. FMC Corp. also supports local charitable organizations, including The United Way, Unyts, the Tonawanda Chamber of Commerce and the Tonawanda Boys & Girls Club.

The full text of Higgins' remarks is below:

"Mr. chairman, members of the commission, I appreciate the opportunity to address you today before you make your final decision in this sunset review.

"My district in Western New York has long been a hub of manufacturing in the United States, and FMC Corp. - the sole manufacturer of persulfates in the United States - has proved an integral part of our community. The 128-year-old company provides approximately 100 manufacturing jobs to my constituents, and the residual economic benefits of the plant extend throughout the community.

"Like many regions in this country, Western New York has seen far too many manufacturing jobs eliminated or moved offshore because of competition from unfairly traded imports from China. 

"Nearly two decades ago, Chinese imports of low-priced and unfairly traded persulfates flooded the domestic market. FMC's operations were decimated and the company was on the verge of closure. At that time, this commission determined that imports of persulfates from China were harming FMC and the domestic market. In 1997, The commission and U.S. Department of Commerce granted relief in the form of antidumping duties. Because of this relief, FMC and the members of the International Chemical Workers Union Council Local 76 were able to work together on new research, new investments, and new efficiency measures that have made the facility competitive again.

"Today, FMC operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that is capable of competing with any persulfates producer in the world - assuming that competition is fair.

"Time and again, China has proven that it does not compete fairly in the market for persulfates. It is no coincidence that the European Union and India also impose antidumping duties on persulfates from China. Member(s) of the commission, I believe nothing has changed since the last time you reviewed this order. China continues to increase its capacity to produce persulfates, regardless of demand, and continues to dump its excess production in other unprotected markets.

"If U.S. antidumping duties are removed, there is no doubt that China will again flood the U.S. market with low-priced dumped imports.

"In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce has already determined that Chinese dumping will resume at a margin of 119 percent if the order is revoked. The U.S. persulfates industry simply could not survive such unfair competition.

"For the sake of my community and my constituents, I urge you to continue the antidumping order on persulfates from China and not allow our industry to become unprotected from this very real threat."

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