SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — You don’t have to look far to see how the ongoing trade dispute between China is impacting households in KELOLAND, just check the cupboards in your kitchen. Local companies that build those cabinets are calling out China for harming their industry.
Members of the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance are calling on the International Trade Commission and the U.S. Commerce Department to take tough action on China. They say China, by subsidizing its kitchen cabinet products, has unfairly been muscling its way into U.S. markets. And now they’re calling on U.S. Senator Mike Rounds to help make their case.
Workers at Showplace Cabinetry turn-out more than 600 cabinets a day at their two plants in Harrisburg. At Showplace, they take the made-in-America brand seriously.
“We buy American-made products, over 95% of what we buy is made here in America and that’s the way it is,” Showplace Cabinetry Vice-President & COO Bill Allen said.
While Showplace has been growing as a company through the years, it’s troubled by a recent dip in sales.
“Our business is not as strong this year as it was a year ago, and that’s something we want to address,” Allen said.
Manufacturers like Showplace say China, for years, has been flooding the market with their cheap cabinets, lowering demand for U.S.-made cabinets. Their grievances against China have the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
“In many cases, they have flaunted international law and they have taken the approach that not only do they want those advantages, but they have treated their trading partners with disdain and disrespect,” U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R) South Dakota said.
Showplace is always looking to hire new workers. But the company says those job openings could become more scares if China keeps flooding the market with its cabinets.
“So if that continues, yeah, I would be concerned about layoffs,” Allen said.
U.S. manufacturers have filed a trade lawsuit seeking long-term tariffs on Chinese-made cabinets. Allen acknowledges that levying more tariffs on China can be a flash point in the already tense trade standoff between the two nations. But he says tariffs are necessary to protect cabinet-making jobs here.
“Made in America has to mean something, it has to start meaning something, or there’s going to be a lot less things made in America,” Allen said.
Allen expects a final decision on their trade lawsuit next February or March.
But another group of U.S. cabinet-makers, who assemble cabinets made in China, is against the lawsuit, saying it will lead to higher prices for customers.