UPDATE: Trifecta of Tariffs Take Down Quartz Surfacing

 

Here is everything that you need to know about quartz countertops and why they just got really, really expensive.

  • Initial government tariffs of 10% increasing to 25% at year-end are already in place for construction materials, one of which is quartz
  • Chinese quartz has become a dominant player in the market, squeezing US-based quartz manufacturers, like Cambria (Eden Prairie, MN)
  • Estimated quartz sales by Chinese manufacturers in the US was estimated at $460 Million dollars
  • Cambria said “enough” and filed a countervailing and anti-dumping lawsuit alleging that China’s quartz suppliers were being subsidized by the government (countervailing) and were selling at below cost (or dumping, which prompted the anti-dumping charges)
     

Countervailing duty: an import tax imposed on certain goods in order to prevent dumping or counter export subsidies.

  • On September 19th, Commerce’s preliminary findings were that China quartz suppliers were being subsidized, getting things like rent, utilities, and raw materials very cheaply, and whacked the factories with duties ranging from 34.38% to 178.45% (these were the subsidy rates determined, or how much the factories were benefiting or being “helped” financially)
  • Commerce is expected to make a final determination on the countervailing ruling on January 29, 2019
     

Antidumping duty: a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value. Dumping is a process where a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges in its own home market.

 

  • On November 15, Commerce’s preliminary findings were that China has been dumping quartz surfaces into the market at margins of 242.10 to 341.29%
  • The China-wide entity was determined to have margins of 341.29%
  • While the margins were assessed as above, the actual cash deposit rates are adjusted for export subsidies and those were assessed at: 242.1 to 314.1%  (this is assumed to be what is paid in cash at customs)
  • Margins of 290.86% were determined for all other exporters determined to be eligible for a separate rate  (There is a list of “Separate Rate” companies listed in the Federal Register notice)
  • Customs will collect CASH deposits to cover these duties as they come into the US
  • Commerce will make a final determination on April 4, 2019
  • If Commerce determination is affirmative, ITC will make a final determination on May 20, 2019
     

What is affected by the rulings?

  • Quartz slabs
  • Pre-cut slabs (cut to size)
  • Polished and unpolished
  • Assembled to sinks or not (only quartz part is taxed)

 

What does this mean for you?  It depends on your role in the industry. Obviously, quartz fabricators have to rethink their supply chain, and many already have.  Quartz companies that source from China, will have to rethink their sourcing, or certainly their pricing. Customers will have to get a little more savvy about where their countertop is coming from.  There are a lot of suppliers out there, and there are a lot of alternative materials to quartz as well. There is a lot to digest here and really understand as well.

Are all the tariffs calculated off the base price?  What is the base price? Is it base price X (10% + 34.38% + 242.1%)?  All collected in cash at customs.

Will this snag up materials at customs?  Who is doing the calculations? How is this going to impact my logistics providers and will those rates be going up?

There are a lot of questions to be answered by the experts in the industry and by the industry itself going forward as the process starts and learning begins.  This will be a hot topic for months to come.


 

Here is the press release on the Antidumping Duties:

https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2018/11/us-department-commerce-issues-affirmative-preliminary-antidumping-duty

 

Here is the fact sheet on the Antidumping Duties:

https://enforcement.trade.gov/download/factsheets/factsheet-prc-quartz-surface-products-ad-prelim-111418.pdf

 

Here is the fact sheet on the Countervailing Duties

https://enforcement.trade.gov/download/factsheets/factsheet-prc-quartz-surface-products-cvd-prelim-091418.pdf

 

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