It's always a heartbreaker to see a horse lead the race all the way around the track, only to stumble at the finish line. Unless, of course, you bet on the other horse.
For many months, DSM Copolymer and Ameripol Synpol Corp. seemed to have a clear lead in their efforts to have anti-dumping duties levied against Brazilian, Mexican and South Korean producers of emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber. The Commerce Department confirmed the foreign manufacturers were underselling DSM and Ameripol Synpol by wide margins in the U.S. market, and the International Trade Commission found preliminary evidence that the dumping was causing material injury to the U.S. firms.
So why, on April 29, did the ITC vote 5-1 against a final determination of material injury, meaning exoneration for Brazil, Mexico and South Korea?
Such a turnabout in the final vote, sources have noted, is unusual but not unprecedented. Although the commissioners' report on their vote isn't yet available, certainly the testimony of corporations such as Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Michelin North America Inc. on behalf of the ESBR importers helped turn the tide in their favor.
The tire makers testified that worldwide oversupply in ESBR and low world prices for all rubbers were responsible for lack of profits in ESBR. Some even accused DSM and Ameripol Synpol of trying to monopolize the U.S. ESBR market.
Mexico's current anti-dumping investigation of U.S. SBR exporters—which the tire makers flatly said was retaliation for the ESBR case—also may have influenced the outcome.
In any case, the horse the tire makers backed was the winner. Now, they expect Mexico to drop its SBR anti-dumping case any time.
Of course, if it doesn't, that would be unusual, but not unprecedented.