Testify to International Trade Commission in support of Auburn Manufacturing, Inc.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Congressman Bruce Poliquin today expressed their support for Auburn Manufacturing, Inc. (AMI) during a hearing before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
AMI, a high-tech textile production company based in Auburn, is in the process of pursuing a trade case against Chinese producers for selling unfairly subsidized industrial grade amorphous silica fabric (ASF) in the United States at less than fair value – putting the leading domestic producer of ASF, Auburn Manufacturing, at a significant disadvantage and threatening American jobs.
“Auburn Manufacturing, Inc. is the largest American producer of industrial grade amorphous silica fabric (ASF) and accounts for well over half of such fabric produced in the United States,” said Senator Collins. “Unfortunately, unfair and illegal subsidy practices by Chinese central, provincial, and local governments, as well as dumping practices by Chinese ASF producers, are harming the hard working men and women at Auburn Manufacturing. United States trade laws are designed to protect against the type of unfair competition specified in Auburn Manufacturing’s antidumping and countervailing duty petition, and I support enforcement of these trade laws to protect Maine workers.”
“I am testifying today in strong support of Auburn Manufacturing, its employees, and the importance of a robust trade enforcement system that works for U.S. companies both large and small,” said Senator King. “Small businesses that play by the rules and that work hard to keep good-paying manufacturing jobs in the country ought to be better supported by our trade enforcement agencies. When our trading partners choose to violate agreed-upon rules, placing U.S. businesses at an unfair competitive disadvantage, we need to be able to respond swiftly and decisively. […] If the Commission makes an affirmative final determination of material injury to AMI due to illegally subsidized and dumped Chinese imports, then I believe China essentially stole those jobs from Maine.”
“Auburn Manufacturing, its hard working and skilled industrial weavers, and its high-tech fabric product are proud parts of Maine’s manufacturing economy and important ingredients in our national defense,” said Congressman Poliquin. “Companies like Auburn Manufacturing give us hope. They are a bright spot in American manufacturing – in Maine manufacturing. They produce a world-class proprietary product and they play-by-the-rules. And, in doing so, AMI supports 40 good-paying career jobs with benefits. […] I ask you today to do what’s right, to do what’s fair, and to conclude that the Chinese Government subsidies are illegal and that they caused material injury to this American industry.”
Led by owner Kathie Leonard, AMI has pushed back against the rise in unfairly traded imports of ASF from China. Silica fabric is a heat-resistant material.
The ITC has already made an initial determination that there is a “reasonable indication” that U.S. producers have been “materially injured” by the importation of unfairly subsidized silica fiber from China. That determination in March 2016 paved the way for the investigation to continue, which led to today’s hearing. If the ITC makes an affirmative final determination of material injury to AMI due to illegally subsidized and dumped Chinese imports, then the Secretary of Commerce would issue an antidumping order and a countervailing duty order.
AMI is a small, woman-owned manufacturing producer with two locations in Auburn and Mechanic Falls. AMI employs forty people at two facilities, and is a leading producer of high performance, heat-resistant fabrics and textiles. The company first filed a petition with the ITC in January 2016, and has lost business and had to lay off six production workers as a result of illegally subsidized and dumped Chinese imports.