US wire sector braces for Customs cuts

Mar 19, 2013 | 01:19 PM | Samuel Frizell

Tags  U.S. Customs and Border Protection, downstream imports, wire products, fabricators, China, steel wire, wire, Amy DeArmond Leggett & Platt

NEW YORK — Foreign entities will likely find it easier to avoid duties on steel wire products starting in mid-April, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection begins furloughing some 60,000 employees, and domestic wire producers stand to suffer, industry sources told AMM.

The furloughs will result in a 10-percent reduction of on-duty personnel each day, according to Brentwood, Tenn.-based logistics firm Ozburn-Hessey Logistics LLC.

"Their enforcement activities have been so weak that any diminishing of that number is going to make their enforcement even weaker," Frederick P. Waite, legal counsel at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, Washington, representing the domestic steel wire industry before the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department, said.

The industry has successfully filed trade cases against such imports as steel wire garment hangers, steel nails, innerspring units and shelving, but when the sequester hits Customs next month the industry could face renewed pressure. Diminished staffing will make it more difficult to stop unfairly imported downstream wire products that avoid duty payment.....

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