In an October 12, 2022 petition, the Coalition of Domestic Folder Manufacturers (“Coalition”) alleged that paper file folder imports from China, India and Vietnam are being sold in the United States at less than fair market value with dumping rates as high as 236% and that paper file folder imports from India are benefitting from 16 different Indian government subsidy programs. The proposed scope covers “file folders consisting primarily of paper, paperboard, pressboard, or other cellulose material, whether coated or uncoated, that has been folded (or creased in preparation to be folded), glued, taped, bound, or otherwise assembled to be suitable for holding documents … regardless of color, whether or not expanding, and with or without tabs, fasteners, closures, hooks, rods, hangers, pockets, gussets, or internal dividers.” The paper file folders have “a length and width of at least 8 inches and no greater than 17 inches, regardless of depth.” Manila folders, hanging folders and fastener folders are examples of paper file folders.

The scope excludes:

  1. mailing envelopes with a flap bearing one or more adhesive strips that can be used permanently to seal the entire length of a side such that, when sealed, the folder is closed on all four sides;
  2. binders with two or more rings to hold documents in place, made from paperboard or pressboard encased entirely in plastic;
  3. non-expanding folders with a depth exceeding 7 inches and that are closed or closeable on the top, bottom and all four sides (e.g., boxes or cartons);
  4. fashion folders, which are defined as folders with all of the following characteristics: (1) plastic lamination covering the entire exterior of the folders, (2) printing, foil stamping, embossing (e., raised relief patterns that are recessed on the opposite side), and/or debossing (i.e., recessed relief patterns that are raised on the opposite side), covering the entire exterior surface area of the folder, (3) at least two visible and distinct printed or foil stamped colors other than the color of the base paper, and other than the printing of numbers, letters, words, or logos, each of which separately covers no less than 10 percent of the entire exterior surface area, and (4) patterns, pictures, designs, or artwork covering no less than thirty percent of the exterior surface area of the folder;
  5. portfolios, which are folders having (1) a width of at least 16 inches when open flat, (2) no tabs or dividers, and (3) one or more pockets that are suitable for holding letter size documents and that cover at least 15 percent of the surface area of the relevant interior side or sides; and
  6. report covers, which are folders having (1) no tabs, dividers or pockets, and (2) one or more fasteners or clips, each of which is permanently affixed to the center fold, to hold papers security in place.

In support of its allegations, the Coalition referenced data showing that sales of paper file folders fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, from $57.9 million in 2019 down to $49.7 million in 2021, but skyrocketed to nearly $46 million in the first half of 2022 — a 74.3% increase from the same period one year ago. The data also indicate that as U.S. folder sales fell between 2019 through 2021, the presence of paper file folders from China, India and Vietnam in the U.S. market expanded, reducing the market share of domestic manufacturers and importers from Mexico.

The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration now has 20 days following the filing of the petition to determine whether to grant the Coalition’s request for an investigation based upon its claims. Meanwhile, the International Trade Commission has 45 days to issue a preliminary determination on whether there is a reasonable indication that the imports at issue are causing or threatening to cause material injury to the domestic industry.