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Intermodal Summit: Domestic chassis manufacturers took on Chinese imports…and won

This fireside chat recap is a from FreightWaves’ Intermodal Summit.

FIRESIDE CHAT DETAILS: A group of U.S. manufacturers that manufacture intermodal container chassis found themselves losing huge market share to imports from China. They concluded that China was not competing fairly under international trade laws and banded together to seek action from Washington. Their lead attorney sits down with editor at large John Kingston to describe how the producers won a stunning victory. (A FreightWaves article on the case can be found here.)

SPEAKER: Robert DeFrancesco, partner, Wiley Rein LLP

BIO: DeFrancesco is an international trade partner at the Washington law firm of Wiley Rein LLP. His practice involves all aspects of international trade and trade remedy proceedings. His expertise lies in both U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings and export control matters before various agencies and courts. DeFrancisco has been recently named “International Trade MVP” by Law360 and one of DC’s “Super Lawyers” for International by Super Lawyers magazine.


“When we put this coalition together, they represented close to 100 percent of domestic production.”

“Since the case was filed, and even while duties were being put in place, domestic producers for the first time were able to compete in a fairly traded market. They very rapidly began hiring new shirts, bringing production back and ramping back up as fast as they possibly could.”

“Tariffs of certain sizes have different effects. Sometimes you have cases where a relatively small tariff forces producers out of the market. In other cases, you’ll have significant tariffs where the volume will come down, prices will moderate but the volume doesn’t necessarily disappear from the market.”

Asked if other exporters besides China might have been targets of an action: “Our goal was to address the major problem in the market at that time, and that was China.”

More articles by John Kingston

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.