WASHINGTON (July 13, 2009)—The Obama administration should reject import duties or quotas against Chinese passenger and light truck tires, the Tire Industry Association said in a letter to President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
“The bottom line is that it won't help American workers, and it will only harm American consumers and tire dealers, many of whom are hardworking, independent businesspeople,” said TIA President Roy Littlefield in his July 10 letter.
The ITC voted 4-2 June 29 to recommend that the Obama administration impose three years of duties against Chinese tires for causing market disruption to the domestic tire manufacturing industry. The commission asked for a 55-percent tariff the first year, 45 percent the second year and 35 percent the third year.
In its original petition to the ITC under Section 421 of the Trade Act, the United Steelworkers asked for quotas on Chinese tire imports, but supported the commission's decision to recommend tariffs instead.
However, two of the commissioners agreed with TIA and several of its most prominent members that duties or quotas would do nothing to help the U.S. tire industry. Chinese tire imports, they argued, supply a lower-cost segment of the tire market than domestic manufacturers serve, and punitive measures against Chinese imports would only cause shortages and raise prices in the low end of the tire market.