WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration has lowered the preliminary antidumping duties it issued earlier this year against all but one of 68 manufacturers, importers and distributors of passenger and light truck tires from China.
The agency also has moved back its final countervailing duty determination on Chinese tires from the original date of April 6 to June 12, the same day the final antidumping determination is due.
The ITA made the change in the countervailing duty deadline at the request of the interested parties, an agency spokeswoman said.
In the document issued by Commerce March 19, the preliminary antidumping duty levied against Giti Tire Global Trading Pte. Ltd. and its subsidiaries remained at 19.17 percent, the same level the agency set in its original preliminary determination Jan. 21.
However, the duty against Sailun Group Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries was slashed almost in half, to 18.58 percent from the original 36.26 percent.
All 66 other companies—including such names as Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Bridgestone Corp., Goodyear Dailan Tire Co. Ltd. and Pirelli Tyre Co. Ltd.—saw their antidumping duties reduced to 18.99 percent from 27.72 percent.
All of these duties are in addition to the existing 4 percent import tariff on tires.
The order by the Commerce Department was issued “to correct significant ministerial errors,” according to the document's summary.
A significant ministerial error, the order said, is when inadvertent errors in arithmetic cause substantial miscalculations of the duties that are owed.
Commerce found no significant errors in the antidumping margin calculations it made for Giti, the agency said, but it did find errors in its calculations for Sailun.
Amending Sailun's preliminary duties led Commerce to do the same for the “separate rate” companies, meaning all the others, it said.
The reduced rates for Sailun are retroactive to Jan. 27, the day the original antidumping duty determination was published in the Federal Register, Commerce said.
For the “separate rate” companies, the lower duties are retroactive to Oct. 29, 2014, 90 days before the publication of the original order, the agency said.
When the original duty determination was issued, Cooper said Commerce would give the company an offset of 6.97 percent from its assessed duty of 27.72 percent.
That would lower its rate to 20.75 percent.
Cooper confirmed that the offset still would apply to the lowered rate, reducing its antidumping duty rate to 12.02 percent.
This is the second time in its countervailing and antidumping duty investigation of Chinese passenger and light truck tires that the Commerce Department has reduced its initial duty determinations.
On Nov. 24, 2014, the agency levied preliminary countervailing duties of 15.69 percent; the next month, it reduced those to 12.03 percent.
The United Steelworkers union filed petitions with the International Trade Commission in June 2014, requesting countervailing and antidumping duties against Chinese tires.
Invoking Section 701 and 731 of the Trade Act, the United Steelworkers union cited sharp increases in Chinese tire imports since the end of Section 421 tariffs in September 2012.
If the ITA makes affirmative final decisions in the countervailing and antidumping cases on June 12, they will go to the ITC.
The ITC will set the final countervailing and antidumping duty rates.