On Wednesday morning, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin had Kathie Leonard’s back.

The three of four members of Maine’s congressional delegation testified in front of the U.S. International Trade Commission in support of Leonard’s claims that unfairly subsidized Chinese material is hurting her business at Auburn Manufacturing Inc.

AMI is the largest producer of industrial-grade amorphous silica fabric in the country. The material is used to insulate and resist extreme heat and the U.S. Navy is among its customers.

Leonard said last winter when she filed an anti-dumping complaint that Chinese imports had cost her 30 percent of sales for that product over three years. She had to lay off six employees.

AMI has facilities in Auburn and Mechanic Falls.

In her written testimony, Collins said subsidies had dropped prices so low that Chinese companies were selling the material for between $2 and $4 per unit while AMI’s price ranged from $17 to $18.


“AMI has provided more than a million yards of its products to the Navy under several multiyear contracts,” Collins said. “Unfortunately, unfair and illegal subsidy practices by Chinese central, provincial, and local governments, as well as dumping practices by Chinese ASF producers are harming the hardworking men and women at Auburn Manufacturing. U.S. manufacturers and workers can compete against the best in the world, but they cannot compete against foreign firms that receive huge government subsidies and other unfair advantages.”

From King’s testimony: “These are good-paying jobs with benefits in an area of Maine where it is not always easy to find good-paying jobs with benefits. If the commission makes an affirmative final determination of material injury to AMI due to illegally subsidized and dumped Chinese imports, then I believe China essentially stole those jobs from Maine.”

King added, “I am also testifying today in strong support of the best trade enforcement system we can possibly build for American companies of all sizes. Small businesses that play by the rules and that work hard to keep good-paying manufacturing jobs in the country ought to be better supported by our trade enforcement agencies.”

From Poliquin’s testimony, who noted that Leonard had spent more than $500,000 in legal fees pursing her anti-dumping complaint: “These 40 hardworking Mainers are some of the most skilled industrial textile manufacturers in the world. They weave tiny glass strands into the highest performing industrial cloths and tarps. Companies like Auburn Manufacturing give us hope. They are a bright spot in American manufacturing — in Maine manufacturing. I ask you today to do what’s right, to do what’s fair, and to conclude that the Chinese government subsidies are illegal and that they caused material injury to this American industry.”

Leonard was at the hearing in Washington, D.C., according to staff.

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