Gorey said the industry has "been under siege" by imports that have increased by 100 percent since 2012, and now represent about 35 percent of the market.
While CPAG has not filed any formal trade complaints, the coalition said in briefing papers that a 35 percent tariff would protect the 12,000 jobs in the U.S. geosynthetics industry. The group estimated that 1,500 more jobs would be created if all geosynthetics were made in the U.S.
The coalition argues that Asian producers have raw material and labor cost advantages, in addition to tariff advantages.
CPAG said Indian and Chinese manufacturers can send their products to the U.S. with no tariffs but U.S. geosynthetics face tariffs of 27 percent on exports to China and 29 percent to India.
"The three manufacturers here have operations all over the world, it's not like we're U.S. centric," said John Henderson, president of Tencate, in Pendergrass, Ga. "It's really fair trade, that's what we're after."
But there are signs that not all four members of CPAG see eye to eye on all aspects of trade.
Dowdell, from Hanes Geo, said that his company challenged an earlier duty protection that Tensar successfully petitioned and gained from the U.S. government, against Chinese makers of some geogrid products.
"The Hanes Geo business actually challenged that finding because we do source from global supply and they do make wonderful products," Dowdell said. "The bottom line is the economics today dictate that buying pattern."
Hanes Geo distributes geosynthetics that it buys globally, while the other three GPAG members are manufacturers.
The coalition members said they would reassess after their initial meetings with government officials. They noted that all of them are members of the Roseville, Minn.-based Geosynthetics Materials Association, but formed the new group to provide an additional push on their issues.
"Once we get through this step, we'll come back from it and see what we feel we've accomplished or not accomplished, [and] we'll define what's next," Gorey said.