BEIJING — The U.S. Commerce Department was unfair and discriminatory against Chinese off-the-road tire manufacturers when it found that the Chinese government is subsidizing them, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has declared.
"The unjust determination by the U.S. side was not only violating its own law and the multilateral rules, but also self-evident of its discrimination against the Chinese enterprises as well as its prejudice against the development pattern of Chinese economy," the ministry stated in a Jan. 4 news release answering the Dec. 10 preliminary determination from the Commerce Department.
In its ruling, Commerce found the Chinese government was subsidizing its OTR tire makers at a rate of anywhere from 2.38 to 6.59 percent, depending on the individual manufacturer.
Morry Taylor, chairman and CEO of Titan International Inc., said at the time that the Chinese were subsidizing OTR tire makers at up to 15 percent, and he believed Commerce´s final determination would bear this out. Titan and the United Steelworkers union jointly filed a countervailing and antidumping duty complaint against Chinese OTR tire imports with the International Trade Commission earlier last year.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, however, the U.S. has made it a rule not to impose countervailing duties on "nonmarket economies" since 1984. The OTR tire case marks the fifth time in a row the U.S. government has made an unfair countervailing duty decision against Chinese goods, the ministry said.
The ministry called the accusations by Titan and the USW "groundless fabrication" and complained about having to provide large amounts of information to the U.S. government based on those accusations. "Despite the active cooperation of the Chinese side with the U.S. investigation, the U.S. Department of Commerce, unfortunately, refused to adopt or believe in the authentic and effective data provided by the former," the ministry said.
The Chinese government reserves the right to take further measures to protect its OTR tire manufacturers should the preliminary determination become final, the ministry said.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has until Feb. 20 to make a final determination as to whether Chinese OTR tire subsidies exist. If the finding is affirmative, the ITC then has until April 7 to make a final determination as to whether U.S. OTR tire manufacturers suffer material injury because of Chinese OTR tire sales in the U.S. at less than fair value. If injury is found, duties will be imposed.