By 1990 the industry had begun to see an increase in the amount of chain link fence products manufactured outside of the U.S that were being sold in the domestic (U.S.) marketplace. CLFMI was asked by its members to attempt to identify exactly what the size of this imported product market was, and what impact these products were having on the ability of CLFMI member companies to compete fairly and successfully.
The problem was that the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Commission (ITC), which tracked import statistics on thousands of items being brought into the U.S., didn’t have chain link fabric categorized as a separate product. Chain link products were part of a “basket category” of similar products and not identified in other ways. When contacted by CLFMI about the possibility of breaking out the metallic and color coated fabric products, The ITC indicated that for each additional line item that was broken out and tracked there was a cost to the government of an estimated $20,000.00, and there had to be some verification of “injury” to an industry in order to justify such a cost.
Armed with CLFMI Statistical Reports, then-President Sonny Long and CLFMI Legal Counsel Steve Creskoff met with ITC officials to argue the case for the classification breakout. After being shown the rising amounts of imports and the flatness of the domestic industry, ITC officials agreed that there was enough potential harm to the industry to warrant the expense. Since then, the ITC has tracked imports of metallic and color coated chain link fabric and made those figures available to CLFMI each quarter, helping CLFMI members better understand the global marketplace.