The Power of an American Pencil
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
February 9, 2002 - for the American Reformation Project
As further evidence that buying American does not just apply to
big-ticket items, America could be in danger of losing the pencil industry
unless patriotic consumers raise their awareness. In 1991, just 16% of all
pencils came from overseas. Today, however, almost half of the pencils
bought by Americans come from overseas. The main source of stress in this
industry is China. In 1994, the U.S. actually held its ground and imposed
large antidumping duties on Chinese pencils, and imports dropped off
substantially. But as manufacturing became both cheaper and more efficient
in China, the volume of imports rose to their previous level by the year
Once again, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA)
lobbied hard for protection. The lobbying paid off, and duties were set as
high as 53%.
Currently, the two biggest pencil-makers Sanford (a division of
Newell Rubbermaid) and Dixon Ticonderoga are U.S. owned, but Dixon realizes
that even with the tariffs, pencils can still be imported cheaper than they
can be manufactured.
What can you do? When you buy pencils, make sure they are made in
U.S.A., and made by either Sanford, Dixon Ticonderoga or another American
brand name (BIC is owned by the French). If the American consumer buys only
American made pencils and leaves Chinese pencils to rot on the shelves, no
trade policy of the U.S. Congress can reverse such circumstances. We as
consumers have the power create our own prosperity. Let's use it!