The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the Vinyl Institute are concerned that the recent influx of low-priced Chinese window components threatens to disrupt the U.S. vinyl window market. (China does not send fully assembled windows yet, but U.S. companies are worried that will be next if things are left unchecked.)

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based AAMA says that some 80 percent of the vinyl window components in the United States are produced here and in Canada and are competitively priced and AAMA-certified for performance characteristics.

Chinese vinyl window mainframe and sash profiles, on the other hand, are being sold at between 35 percent and 50 percent below U.S. market value, making it difficult for American window companies to compete, says Rich Walker, executive vice president of AAMA.

There is also concern that Chinese components manufacturers still add lead as a stabilizer in the vinyl. Though the lead is locked into the window pieces and is not illegal, AAMA is concerned about any amount of lead being present. American window manufacturers, Walker says, have converted their plants and no longer use lead as a stabilizer.

The current level of Chinese vinyl imports has not yet risen above 3 percent, but the group is concerned that the rate is high.

The two groups will gather information through the first quarter of this year that could lead to an anti-dumping petition filing with the Department of Commerce. A successful petition could lead to tariffs, Walker says.