Potential Surge in Furniture Import Tariffs Threatens Price Instability

The possibility of increased tariffs on upholstery imports has sparked concern among furniture retailers in British Columbia, potentially leading to higher prices that might unsettle consumers.

Expressing their discontent, the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (CHFA) recently lodged a complaint with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). Their grievance highlights the importation of fabric upholstery and seating—such as sofas and chairs—from nations like China and Vietnam. The CHFA claims that between 2019 and 2022, the Canadian Fabric Stationary Domestic Seating (FSDS) market surged by approximately 39 percent. During this period, China and Vietnam emerged as the primary sources of FSDS in Canada, overshadowing domestic producers, whose market share plummeted by 11 percent due to increased imports from these countries and others.

Seeking intervention, the CHFA urges the CBSA to probe whether these nations have engaged in unfair pricing practices to undercut Canadian manufacturers. Under the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), selling products abroad at prices lower than their domestic market value constitutes “dumping.” The CBSA employs higher tariffs as a deterrent against such practices.

In response to previous concerns, the federal government had introduced elevated tariffs—reaching up to 295 percent—on leather upholstery and recliners from China and Vietnam two years ago. However, local retailers warn that further tariff hikes could spell disaster for their businesses and escalate consumer prices.

Sara Samieian, owner of Moe’s Home Collection in Vancouver, voices apprehension about potential tariffs matching or surpassing those imposed earlier. Most of her store’s furniture is sourced from China and Vietnam, and she fears that increased tariffs might lead to an inability to import from these countries. Consequently, this would significantly reduce choices for Canadian consumers seeking living room furniture.

To navigate potential restrictions, Samieian anticipates exploring alternative markets like Mexico and Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, she estimates that such shifts could prompt a substantial price hike of 25 to 50 percent for consumers in Canada.

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