Chinese manufacturers of container chassis will be facing duties on sales into the U.S. of more than 200% for the next five years following a final finding by the Department of Commerce.

The final ruling on the size of the duties handed down by Commerce last week follows earlier findings by the International Trade Commission that Chinese manufacturers had sold chassis into the U.S. at less than fair value.

The finding is good news for the five major manufacturers of intermodal chassis in the U.S.: Cheetah Chassis, Stoughton Trailers, Hercules Chassis, Dorsey Intermodal (a division of Pitts Enterprises) and Pratt Industries.

Specifically, the final duty will be approximately 221%, Robert E. DeFrancesco of the law firm Wiley Rein said. DeFrancesco and his law firm were the advisers to the Coalition of American Chassis Manufacturers, made up of the five companies. It was the coalition that brought the antidumping action against Chinese manufacturers, though one Chinese company — CIMC — has been far and away the biggest exporter of chassis to the U.S. 

DeFrancesco said that in a given year, chassis sales will total between 30,000 and 35,000. Chassis generally are priced between $12,000 and $15,000, he said, but they can be as high as $25,000.

CIMC was not the only Chinese company that was investigated by the Commerce Department, DeFrancesco said, but it is easily the largest of the Chinese exporters. 

There are avenues for appeal, DeFrancesco said. But they would involve going into the Court of International Trade and then the federal circuit court for the District of Columbia. Even if the case makes its way through the appeals process, the duties are collected for the duration of the appeal, he said. 

“This is a really big win for the U.S. industry,” DeFrancesco said. He described the U.S. chassis manufacturing industry as having been “devastated” by Chinese imports in the last decade, with layoffs of “hundreds of thousands of workers.”

The vote at the International Trade Commission determining that the Chinese had “materially injured” the U.S. industry was unanimous, according to an ITC release published when the vote was held in April. The determination last week by the Commerce Department on the size of the duties then completed the process. 

He said that in the case of Stoughton, that company had been “completely shut down and now they are trying to hire a third shift to bring back the production.”

“The imposition of these dumping rates on all Chinese producers and exporters has allowed the U.S. industry to begin rapidly rehiring its workforce and ramping up production to meet industry demands in anticipation of a fairly traded market,” DeFrancesco said in the prepared statement issued by the coalition. 

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