Despite tariffs of 10% and 25%, Chinese companies continue to affect one industry drastically — furniture making.
Mark A. Trexler, CEO of Marshall’s Master Woodcraft Cabinetry, was recently included in an article in “Forbes” magazine about the topic of tariffs and the struggle to beat China.
“I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and let another industry go under and be destroyed by the Chinese,” Trexler said earlier this week.
Trexler, a North Carolina native, said he has watched as the Chinese market cut hundreds of jobs in that state, saying the losses also affected the textile and women’s hosiery industries.
In the wood business for 42 years, with the past approximately 22 in the furniture business, Trexler took action when he noticed the trend beginning to affect his cabinet business.
“I’m with the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance, and they filed a suit on the Chinese for dumping,” Trexler said. “Forty companies are under the alliance. I was a charter and founding member of the AKCA.”
He added that the AKCA recently received a vote of 4-0 in its favor again China, with another vote scheduled for July.
The case involves two lawsuits, one for dumping and another for commerce, Trexler said. They are asking for tariffs of more than 200 percent in order to successfully stop the Chinese take over of the industry.
“Trump can make a deal, but he could change it two weeks later. This deal will last for five years,” Trexler said about the request (lawsuit) by the AKCA.
“Dumping” is the term used when the Chinese market “dumps the price” to a very low point in order to oust American manufacturers, according to Trexler.
“Even if I had robots and no labor, they’d still beat me by 30 or 40 percent. What they do is they dump the price below what American industries can handle. They want you to go out of business,” he said.
In Marshall and Jefferson, Trexler said there are about 900 jobs at stake, if the Chinese succeed.
Trexler said his business has decreased by 7 percent in the past two years.
Master Woodcraft Cabinetry owns manufacturing facilities in Marshall and Jefferson and includes a total of more than 600,000 square-feet of manufacturing space and more than 300,000 square-feet of warehouse space.
According to the company website, www.mwccabinetry.com, all wood materials at Trexler’s business are American sourced.
Trexler penned an opinion article about the affect of the Chinese market on the furniture business, and it was published locally and in the “Washington Post” and “Forbes,” as well, he said.
“Our goal is to protect this industry. It’s been a tough two years, but we’re trying to protect those jobs and jobs across the U.S.,” Trexler said.
In 2017, China shipped $13.6 billion in furniture to the U.S. market. Vietnam shipped $3.8 billion, and there was about $1.4 billion from Malaysia and Indonesia combined.
Other countries such as Mexico and Taiwan shipped another $1.5 billion to the U.S. In 2017, according to an article published July 2018 at www.furnituretoday.com.
In the U.S., the household furniture manufacturing business is a $26 billion industry, according to a report from www.ibisworld.com.