The Department of Justice announced Thursday that architectural glass and railings supplier C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. of Los Angeles will pay $2.3 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the manufacturer avoided paying certain customs duties on aluminum products it imported from China.
The department alleges C.R. Laurence, along with companies in Florida and Texas that also agreed to settle, wanted to gain an unfair advantage over other domestic suppliers by not paying duties to U.S. Customers and Border Protection. The duties are in place to protect the domestic market from foreign companies that take advantage of foreign subsidies and that “dump” products, or sell them below cost.
The companies allegedly tried to avoid paying the duties by saying the aluminum products came from Malaysia. Malaysian aluminum products, unlike Chinese ones, can be imported without the additional duties. C.R. Laurence and the two other companies supply shower doors and enclosures made with aluminum parts.
C.R. Laurence will pay far more than the other companies, which settled for a combined $750,000.
In a statement on the company’s website, C. R. Laurence said it is “pleased to have resolved this matter,” though it denied the Justice Department’s allegations, saying the products’ seller was responsible for importing the goods and paying duties.