One of the people responsible for paving the way for the Court of International Trade (CIT) decision subjecting Chinese curtainwall units to tariffs insists that he has no personal animosity against the communist country.
“I don’t view this as a Chinese issue,” says Tom Black, chief operating officer for Walters & Wolf, a Freemont, Calif.-based company that was among the case’s three plaintiffs. “I view this as a fairness issue. I wish China well. However, they must play by the rules if they wish to participate in a world market.”
The CIT agreed, recently upholding its original ruling in a case brought forth last fall against Yuanda challenging the Department of Commerce’s curtainwall scope decision. Walters & Wolf, Livermore, Calif.-based Architectural Glass and Aluminum and Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems were the plaintiffs in the case.
Black says he expected the court’s affirmation of its earlier ruling, but cautioned against prematurely thinking the issue has been settled once and for all. The Chinese, he says, could still petition the World Trade Organization (WTO), although it’s unclear if they will do so.
John D’Amario, Yuanda’s northwestern USA sales manager, offered the following comment.
“We’re not in a position to divulge our course of action,” he says. “However, we are continuing to do business as usual.”
Black characterizes the dispute as just a small part of an ongoing larger and more complex issue facing China as it attempts to modernize and flex its economic muscle.
“China is caught between a closed economic model within its borders and the open-market economy outside,” he says. “This dual economic personality locks them into these situations for the immediate future, and not just with our industry or country. Frankly, until they confront this juxtaposition, I see no end in sight of this dilemma for them. The day they float the Yuan will be our cue that they are ready to join the world economic marketplace.”