Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUL 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Liebherr Opens Florida Showroom MIAMI — Luxury appliance brand Liebherr has opened its first custom-designed showroom at the company's North American headquarters in Miami. The 1,200-sq.-ft. venue, according to the company, will serve as a training area for design professionals and sales associates, as well as an entertainment space for corporate guests. Visitors will be able to interact with Liebherr's wide range of refrigeration, wine preservation and undercounter products, including the Monolith, the brand's newest column refrigeration products, corporate o-cials said. "The goal of the showroom is to create a place where people can feel and touch the Liebherr values and heritage," said Andreas Hansen, divisional director of refrigerators & freezers division for the Americas. "This space is a testament to the magnitude of this family-run business and to German engineering. It was only natural that we'd want to invite the world in to experience it first-hand." Created in collaboration with renowned design firm, Birka, Liebherr's new ap- pliance showroom "was carefully crafted to represent components of the Liebherr enterprise," Hansen said. The showroom is available to guests by appointment Monday through Saturday, he added. PMI Adds Voice to Tari Opposition WASHINGTON, DC — Plumbing Manufacturers International, the trade associ- ation representing the manufacturers who produce the vast majority of America's plumbing products, has lent its voice to a growing chorus of objections to the imposition of additional tari's on Chinese-made products. PMI also expressed the need for congressional action in support of EPA "Water- Sense" program funding, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and investments in America's infrastructure. "The plumbing products manufacturing industry delivers for the American economy, contributing $85.5 billion in economic impact and more than 464,000 jobs," said Kerry Stackpole, PMI CEO/executive director. "With so many young Americans making their first home-buying decisions, and the aging stock of homes ripe for remodeling and renovation, the administration's increased tari's only serve to push up housing prices and keep more families from achieving the American dream of home ownership," Stackpole said. "Couple that with increased costs for outfitting commercial, government and industrial construction projects brought on by 25% tari' rates, and it becomes clear these additional costs spell trouble for jobs and the economy." PMI said it is one of 150 organizations participating in the "Tari's Hurt the Heartland" coalition, which has quantified the harm the tari's are having on the U.S. economy. Stackpole said the tari's have caused supply chain disruption, a hold on jobs growth and higher costs within the plumbing manufacturing industry and related industries. With President Trump's fiscal year 2020 budget recommending the elimination of the "WaterSense" program, the PMI said it is asking congressional appropria- tions committees to provide instructions to the EPA to not cut the program, which the PMI says has saved trillion gallons of water and billions of dollars in water and energy expenses over the past decade. Decision Looms on Chinese Cabinet Trade WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. trade o-cials have rescheduled until August a de- cision on whether to proceed to the next stage of deliberations into charges that Chinese trade practices in cabinet manufacturing and exporting are undermining the businesses of U.S. cabinet suppliers. A determination by the U.S. Commerce Dept. is scheduled by Aug. 5 on the ques- tion of whether to move ahead with a lengthy decision-making process regarding an unfair-trade petition filed by the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance (AKCA), a coalition of cabinet manufacturers seeking the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of Chinese-made cabinets and vanities. A decision had been scheduled for May. The unfair-trade case, mirroring similar cases in other kitchen/bath product sectors, has created a sharp divide between industry alliances that have lined up on opposite sides of the issue. The AKCA, in a petition filed in March, charged that, as a result of unfair-trade practices, imports of low-cost, Chinese-made kitchen cabinets and vanities have risen sharply in recent years, and currently comprise more than one-third of the $9.5 billion U.S. cabinet market. The imports, if left unchecked, pose an existen- tial threat to the U.S. cabinet trade, according to the ACKA, which charges that Chinese manufacturers unfairly benefit from government subsidies and other economic programs. Those charges, however, are being contested by a recently formed alliance of distributors, dealers, contractors, installers and importers of ready-to-assemble cabinets. That alliance, known as the American Coalition of Cabinet Distributors (ACCD), was launched in May to fight the antidumping and countervailing duty petitions, since imposition of the duties, the ACCD says, could e'ectively "wipe out" the RTA market segment from the U.S. marketplace "by taking advantage of anti-China trade sentiment" (see related story, Page 16). The RTA sector, the ACCD contends, makes up only a small portion of the U.S. cabinet market and represents a segment that "does nothing to impede the growth of the larger U.S. kitchen cabinet industry." The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), which is also mulling the contentious trade case, has already determined that there is "a reasonable indi- cation" that the U.S. cabinet industry "is materially injured" by imports of Chinese cabinets and vanities allegedly sold in the U.S. at less-than-fair market value. The USITC decision cleared the way for the Commerce Dept. to move ahead with its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations. Both the USITC and the Commerce Dept. must reach a-rmative final determi- nations for import penalties to be formally issued. Their decisions come at di'erent times, as part of a multi-stage investigatory process that likely will not be concluded until early next year. Trade o-cials are mulling separate cases involving a range of Chinese, Turkish and Indian ceramic, porcelain tile and quartz products commonly used for flooring, walls, paving and other kitchen/bath applications. Formica Acquired by Dutch Holding Firm CINCINNATI — Broadview Holding, a Netherlands-based industrial holding firm with a significant presence in material technology and energy, has acquired deco- rative surfacing products giant Formica Group, the company announced. The $840-million acquisition includes Formica businesses in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as the company's Homapal metal laminates business, corporate o-cials said. The sale was first announced last December and had been pending standard regulatory approvals. "This represents an exciting future for Formica Group, as we have a strong strategic alignment with Broadview," said Mitch Quint, president of Formica Corp. North America. "We look forward to working with our new colleagues and exploring the synergies that will make this combination very successful. Broadview has some industry-leading technologies in their portfolio, and we're excited for the growth opportunities that brings to the Formica businesses." Formica Group invented laminate in 1913 and remains a leading provider of branded, designed surfacing solutions for commercial and residential customers worldwide. Broadview Holding also owns Trespa (a major supplier of exterior HPL cladding), Arpa (known for its Fenix product line) and Westag (a manufacturer of doors and surfaces with a significant footprint in Germany). Liebherr recently opened a custom-designed 1,200-sq.-ft. showroom at its North American headquarters in Miami. 14 Kitchen & Bath Design News • July 2019 INDUSTRY UPDATE NOTEWORTHY DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING THE KITCHEN AND BATH MARKET

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