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U.S. to pursue Chinese plywood imports investigation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. trade officials on Friday said they will continue their anti-dumping probe into certain hardwood plywood products from China after deciding there was a "reasonable indication" that the American plywood industry was hurt by subsidized imports.

The U.S. International Trade Commission, in a statement on its website, said "there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of hardwood plywood from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value."

All six ITC commissioners backed the move, the statement said.

The Commerce Department said on Dec. 9 that it had decided to open anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty investigations into the products, which are used in wall panels, kitchen cabinets, table and desk tops and flooring.

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The investigations follow petitions from six privately owned U.S. plywood producers into the imports, which the department estimates totaled $1.15 billion in 2015.

U.S. officials said they would release the findings from their investigation in a report after Jan. 31.

The Commerce Department will make its decision regarding countervailing duty, or government-backed subsidies, on or about Feb. 13, and its decision on dumping, when goods are sold at less than fair value, on or about April 27.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Writing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Bill Trott and Phil Berlowitz)