WASHINGTON—An antidumping and countervailing duty case involving rubber band imports from Thailand, China and Sri Lanka was the occasion of impassioned and often personal testimony at a preliminary hearing before the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Representatives of a domestic rubber band manufacturer said they had to let their workers go and deny raises to remaining employees because of import competition.
However, distributors of imported rubber bands accused Alliance's executives of being "greedy opportunists" who were trying to blame foreign manufacturers for their own bad business decisions.
The ITC held the hearing at its Washington headquarters Feb. 20, in response to the petitions filed in January by Hot Springs, Ark.-based Alliance Rubber Co. under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act.
According to Alliance, importers from those three countries are receiving subsidies from their governments and selling their rubber bands in the U.S. at less than fair value.
In 1999, Alliance had 250 employees and produced 25.5 million pounds of rubber bands annually, said Alliance President Bonnie Parker Swayze at the ITC hearing.
Now, its annual production is only 15 million pounds, and it employs only 176, Swayze said. Whereas 40 years ago there were 14 domestic rubber band manufacturers, now there are only three, she said.