WASHINGTON (June 22, 2009)—The American Coalition for Free Trade in Tires, a group including six private brand importers and marketers, is dismayed with the recent U.S. International Trade Commission's decision granting the United Steelworkers union petition for restrictions on passenger and light truck tire imports from China.
“We're certainly disappointed in the decision. We feel strongly that import restrictions are not justified based on the facts in this case and will not benefit U.S. producers,” said Marguerite Trossevin of the law firm Jochum Shore & Trossevin, which is representing the coalition. “The decision is now in the president's hands, and we hope that he will consider the cost to American consumers and decide not to impose import restrictions that U.S. producers never requested in the first place.”
The union claimed the sharp increase in Chinese tire imports over the last four years led to the closure of five U.S. tire plants and the pending closure of three more by year-end.
The coalition was created by six U.S.-based tire importers to oppose the USW petition to the ITC. Members include American Omni Trading Co. of Houston; Del-Nat Tire Corp. of Memphis, Tenn.; Dunlap & Kyle Co. Inc. of Batesville, Miss.; Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. of Findlay, Ohio; Orteck Global Supply & Distribution Co. of Gaithersburg, Md.; and Foreign Tire Sales Inc. of Union, N.J.
The ITC has scheduled a June 29 meeting to decide on the appropriate remedy for the market disruption and will send its report to President Obama July 9. The president has sole authority to order a remedy.
“The real result of this decision is that consumers who are already struggling in a weak economy may now have fewer choices, and pay higher prices for their tires,” said Dennis King, vice president of Dunlap & Kyle.
“I hope that the president will listen to the hundreds of small businesses who provide American consumers with safe, quality tires they need at an affordable price, and whose businesses will suffer if imports are restricted,” said Del-Nat President Jim Mayfield.