ATLANTA – The bedroom furniture industry is losing sleep over a bitter trade dispute between the United States and China.
Some American manufacturers are accusing their Chinese counterparts of “dumping” — gaining market share in another country by flooding it with goods at artificially low prices. The U.S. furniture makers say the super cheap Chinese beds and bureaus are hurting local businesses.
A preliminary federal investigation determined that many Chinese companies are indeed exporting wooden bedroom furniture to the United States below fair market value.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Commerce (search) responded by imposing import duties on the Chinese manufacturers. For now, most Chinese plants face duty rates of less than 11 percent, but the final numbers are still pending. Industry analysts predict that they could be substantial enough to reverse a 5-year trend of lower prices on bedroom furniture.
The threat of higher prices has many high-volume retailers siding with the Chinese. The Commerce Department investigation is likely to take three or four more months, with a final decision on duties and how much more consumers may pay expected just in time for Christmas.
Click on the video box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Jonathan Serrie.