American Mattress Alliance (AMA) estimated a minimum of 12,000 U.S. jobs would be lost if the ITC antidumping case against seven countries including Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey, Serbia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia rules in favor of the petitioners. The petition was filed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a point which is highly criticized by the AMA.
“There is an incorrect assumption out there that this petition is only targeting foreign factories and foreign jobs,” said Brandon Sparks, president of BedTech, a mattress importer and AMA member. “This case will likely eliminate a combined total of 12,000 American jobs between mattress importers, small family-owned operations, and the U.S. supply chain with freight carriers, warehouse facilities, port workers, and more.”
The initial ITC hearing is scheduled for April 21 in Washington, D.C. With worldwide lockdowns, many of the facilities in the seven countries cannot submit their necessary information within the two-week timeline. And due to social distancing guidelines, the defendants are not permitted to attend the hearing to plead their case. All arguments are limited to written submissions.
“It strikes me as incredibly opportunistic and fundamentally unfair for the petitioners to push court proceedings during a global pandemic when both parties cannot attend in person,” said Charlie Freedman, general counsel, co-founder of furniture and mattress retailer Downeast, and AMA member. “Additionally, the critical circumstances timeline could force importers to backpay tariffs up to 1,008 percent starting June 13. The risk is too great for companies to continue manufacturing—before they even have their day in court.”
The petitioners claim that 1,300 jobs were lost between 2017 and 2019 due to unfairly priced mattress imports. AMA members contradict this claim and point to the petitioners’ mergers and acquisitions, lack of innovation, and failure to adapt to a changing marketplace as the true reasons for alleged job loss.
Since the mattress-in-a-box revolution, most large retailers rely on suppliers that have large-volume ready-to-ship inventory that delivers to end consumers within two days. AMA members invested in that model while many petitioners dismissed the consumer preference.
“Our business model allows us to have a large inventory of mattresses and adjustable bed bases ready at a moment’s notice for a wide range of industries and end consumers,” explained Scott Burger, CEO of Classic Brands. “As a major supplier of online networks like Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart and Overstock, we’ve innovated and disrupted old processes to align with the fast-paced demands of online shoppers.”
That investment is helping AMA members get tens of thousands of beds out to hospitals and emergency centers immediately—with thousands more already in crisis centers.
About American Mattress Alliance: The American Mattress Alliance exists to provide high-quality products to American consumers with an emphasis on innovation and accessibility. Members include Ashley Furniture, American Furniture Warehouse, Malouf, Classic Brands, BedTech, Zinus USA, Americanstar, Maven, Mlily USA, and others. The American Mattress Alliance was created in response to an antidumping petition filed on March 31, 2020.