WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. International Trade Commission has agreed with Auburn Manufacturing Inc. owners that Chinese competitors have been selling unfairly subsidized industrial fabric in the U.S., and will begin collecting duties on imports of the Chinese products.

The announcement was made Wednesday by all four members of Maine’s congressional delegation, who have been supporting Auburn Manufacturing’s efforts for recognition by the ITC.

“Maine businesses and Maine workers can compete and win against anybody in the world — but the rules need to be fair,” U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree said in a joint news release.

“After a long and hard-fought effort, we are tremendously pleased the ITC has today voted unanimously in favor of Auburn Manufacturing and to stand up for Maine jobs against illegal trade from China.”

The ITC issued its ruling after completing its investigation into Auburn Manufacturing’s allegations that Chinese producers were selling industrial grade amorphous silica fabric at less then fair value subsidized by the Chinese government.

AMI, which has plants in Auburn and Mechanic Falls, is a producer of industrial textiles and is the largest producer of industrial-grade, high-temperature amorphous silica fabric in America.

Because of the ITC announcement, the U.S. Department of Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of the product by Chinese producers.

The Department of Commerce last month ruled that Auburn Manufacturing was being harmed by subsidized imports and had recommended a roughly 210 percent duty on top Chinese exporters of industrial grade amorphous silica fabric. The ITC’s agreement to the recommendation was the final step in the process.

AMI is owned by Kathie Leonard and employs 40 people. The company first filed a petition with the ITC in January 2016, after, Leonard said, the company lost business and had to lay off workers because of the Chinese imports.

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