Trade war? U.S. battle over kitchen cabinets really a domestic dispute



Timothy Aeppel | Reuters

The anti-China trade mood has reached U.S. kitchens, where a battle is being waged over competing visions of where and how cabinets should be made.

On one side are America’s traditional cabinet companies, employing an estimated 100,000 people in factories across the country, often in small towns close to forests supplying the wood. On the other is a new breed of “ready-to-assemble” firms that grabbed a hefty slice of the business over the last five years by importing disassembled cabinets from China in flat boxes and selling them at unbeatable prices.

In March, the International Trade Commission ruled unanimously in favor of a coalition of 50 U.S. firms fighting to stop the influx. The ITC concluded the imports charged unfairly low prices and slapped on big anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties that will last five years.

“We did this for the American worker,” said Mark Trexler, chief operating officer of Cabinetworks Group, the nation’s second-largest cabinet maker and a member of the coalition.

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