As trade tensions continue to heat up between the U.S. and China, the Trump administration is now investigating claims that imported mattresses from China are being dumped at below market value in the U.S.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Oct. 10 launched an antidumping duty investigation on imports of mattresses from the country, alleging that the dumping margins, or rates at which the products are being sold in the U.S. at less than their fair value, range from 258.74% to 1,731.75%.
The investigation was sparked by petitions submitted Sept. 18 by several U.S.-based mattress producers including Tempur Sealy International Inc., Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, Future Foam Inc., and several others that alleged Chinese competitors were undercutting them in the U.S.
Should the Commerce Department find the allegations credible and the U.S. International Trade Commission determine in its own investigation that this is causing "injury" to the American mattress industry, the Commerce Department will impose duties of between 258.14% and 1,731.75% on companies importing mattresses from China.
According to the agency, the U.S. imported 4.61 million mattresses, or $436.5 million worth of the product, from China in 2017.
The investigation includes twin, extra-long twin, full, queen, king, California king, crib, toddler and youth mattresses imported from China. Several types of mattresses, including futon mattresses, airbeds, inflatable mattresses and waterbeds, are excluded from the investigation.
The U.S. International Trade Commission will make its own preliminary injury determination on or before Nov. 2, at which point the investigation will continue if it finds that the dumping of Chinese mattresses is harming the domestic industry.
A final decision is expected in the case by May 13, 2019.
Trade relations between the U.S. and China have soured mightily under the Trump administration. The U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods for what it says is punishment for Beijing's market-distorting trade practices, including forced technology transfer of American companies doing business in China, as well as for retaliatory tariff measures on American exports.
Mattresses were among the consumer products included in the Trump administration's most recent 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports imposed Sept. 24, a rate that will rise to 25% on Jan. 1, 2019.
The Trump administration has initiated 129 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations. Other antidumping investigations include those on aluminum sheet from China, woven sacks from Vietnam and rubber bands from Thailand, China and Sri Lanka.