Back in late November, the U.S. Government announced another round of preliminary fees on Chinese quartz imports, these ones anti-dumping duties, ranging from 242 to 314 percent. The fees may also be retroactive up to 90 days if they are “unliquidated.” These are in addition to the preliminary countervailing duties set on Sept. 17, which will be 34.38 percent on most quartz products entering the United States from China, and 178.45 percent on two particular companies. Additionally, President Trump has placed tariffs on numerous Chinese goods as a separate action. These tariffs, which are compounded with the new Chinese quartz anti-dumping duties and the countervailing duties are also affecting some tile, stone and stoneworking equipment, in addition to quartz. The initial tariff was 10 percent, with a potential increase to 25 percent in coming months.

In recent months, the debate on the issue has grown, with some manufacturers and fabricators believing the tariffs to be a good thing and others strongly opposed. Two groups, one in opposition and one in favor, have developed in response to the fees, which likely will not be finalized or imposed until Q2 of 2019. The Agglomerated Stone World-Wide Association (A.St.A), which is made up of a group of 14 international surfacing producers (Cambria, Caesarstone, Cosentino, LG Hausys, Cimstone, TechniStone, Compac, Vicostone, Santamargherita, RMC, Quartzforms, Diresco, Stone Italiana and Topzstone) issued a statement at the end of 2018 stating that it, “reaffirms its firm support of free and fair trade... particularly the preliminary measures adopted by the US Department of Commerce and the USITC as part of their investigations, to impose duties on Chinese producers to protect fair trade in the industry.” 

Conversely, the American Quartz Worker Coalition, which purports to represent the interests of more than 200 quartz fabrication businesses, distributors, installers and importers (most publicly MSI, Arizona Tile and Bedrosian Tile and Stone), accounting for more than 5,000 American jobs, issued a statement in opposition to the tariffs Jan. 23. The statement said the group organized to fight the anti-dumping and countervailing duty petition filed by Cambria and “is urging the ITC to consider the significant impact of such duties on American workers and the U.S. quartz market. Specifically, the Coalition warns that duties would create huge cost increases for imported quartz and remove approximately 50 percent of available quartz supply from the market.” The statement also claims the tariffs would “limit consumer choice” and “threaten tens of thousands of quartz-related U.S. fabricating jobs.”

Reprinted with permission from the International Surface Fabricator Association’s e-newsletter