The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has sent out questionnaires to retailers, distributors, manufacturers and other flooring industry companies in connection with the ongoing investigation into Chinese engineered hardwood flooring. By law, the questionnaires must be completed and returned by Aug. 10.
Failure to return the questionnaire “could result in a subpoena of your records,” said Jonathan Train, Alliance for Free Choice and Jobs in Flooring (AFCJF) president. “If you receive an ITC questionnaire, you are required by law to complete and return it by August 10. It is not optional.”
The ITC requires information on total purchases of all Chinese products, received both directly from China (as an importer, consignee or other direct delivery) and indirectly. Since many U.S. companies sell both imported and domestically produced product under their brands, customers will need to ask for a breakdown of product origin and if the product came from a Mandatory Respondent in order to accurately complete the questionnaire, according to Train.
“The information requested is complicated and it is likely necessary for you to talk to your suppliers, particularly if they mix product from different countries under one brand. Don’t let it get buried on your desk. To submit it by August 10, you need to start working on it now,” he added.
By law, responses to the questionnaires are kept completely confidential.
“It’s likely that if you received any quantity of container load volume in 2010, you received a questionnaire. Additionally, importers were requested to complete questionnaires early in the case, in which their major customers were listed. As a result, most distributors and large retailers may also have received forms,” Train stated.
Foreign producers and U.S. domestic manufacturers are also required to complete questionnaires about their production capacity and markets. “The questionnaires focus on statistical information, but companies are welcome to provide a cover letter with additional commentary or make additional notes directly on the questionnaire. Any company that wishes to provide an example as to why they chose a specific product, or explain how certain features matter to their customers, may provide as much additional information as they desire,” he added.