WASHINGTON (July 1, 2009)—The American Coalition for Free Trade in Tires, representing six tire importers/marketers opposing the recent U.S. International Trade Commission decision to impose duties on Chinese tires, claim the action could hurt both small businesses and consumers.
The ITC, in a majority opinion, has recommended imposition of duties over three years on Chinese passenger and light truck tire imports in response to a United Steelworkers union petition to limit imports.
“As Commissioners Okun and Pearson stated (in an opinion against the majority), imposing these draconian restrictions on tire imports is far more likely to cause a disruption in the market than to provide any remedy to the U.S. industry,” said Marguerite Trossevin of the law firm Jochum Shore & Trossevin, which is representing the coalition. “This is the type of misguided protectionism that President Obama has fought against in other contexts and we hope he will do so again this time.”
The president has until Sept. 17 to determine what action to take on the issue.
“The duties proposed by the commission are so high that it will drive up prices to the point that U.S. consumers won't have access to affordable tires,” said Dennis King, vice president of Dunlap & Kyle Co., in Batesville, Miss. “Eventually, we will have to find other sources for inexpensive tires, but it won't be here in the U.S. because they don't make them.”
“This is a very disappointing outcome, it's a net loss for the U.S.,” said Larry Lavigne, vice president of operations and general counsel for Foreign Tire Sales in Union, N.J. “This would hurt so many small businesses across the country without producing any benefit. Small businesses are simply getting squeezed out by a politically powerful labor union that is jockeying for position in ongoing contract negotiations with the U.S. producers.”
The coalition, formed to oppose the USW petition, includes American Omni Trading Co. of Houston; Del-Nat Tire Corp., Memphis, Tenn.; Dunlap & Kyle; Foreign Tire Sales; Hercules Tire & Rubber Co., Findlay, Ohio; and Orteck Global Supply & Distribution Co., Gaithersburg, Md.