QUINCY, Ill. (June 21) — Titan International Inc. and the United Steelworkers (USW) union together have asked the U.S. government to impose duties on off-the-road tires — industrial, implement, farm/forestry, skid-steers, etc. — imported from China.
The company and union filed an antidumping and countervailing duty petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce on June 18. The petition claims OTR tires from China are being subsidized and dumped in the U.S., and asks the government to set duties to offset the imports.
China is the single largest source of OTR tire imports, according to data from the USW, accounting for more than 83 percent of total imports by volume in 2006. Chinese imports have increased to nearly 15 million tires worth $374.3 million in 2006 from 11.2 million tires worth $166.4 million in 2004, the petition said. The scope of the investigation does not include tires for aircraft, all-terrain vehicles, lawn-and-garden-type vehicles or tires greater than 39 inches in rim diameter for mining and construction equipment.
"We are seeing the predatory policies of China chopping away at our domestic tire manufacturing industry," said USW President Leo Gerard. "It´s urgent that we fight for aggressive enforcement of our nation´s trade laws before it´s too late and we see more family-supportive jobs lost to China subsidization and unfair dumping."
Comparisons in the petition between Chinese-made and U.S.-made tires showed the imports are underselling domestic tires by an average of 29 percent and the underselling margins are ranging between 2 and 30 percent. Titan claims it has lost "significant sales and revenue" to low-priced imports, although Maurice Taylor Jr., Titan chairman and CEO, didn´t detail the financial impact.
The Commerce Department will determine whether it will initiate an investigation within 20 days, a USW statement said, and could issue preliminary determinations in the case by early November. The ITC will make a preliminary injury determination by August.
If the case makes it past those preliminary steps, public hearings would likely begin next spring, a USW spokesman said.