GENEVA (Jan. 11, 2010)—The World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body will take up the issue of U.S. tariffs on passenger and light truck tires made in China at its next scheduled meeting Jan. 19, according to a report from the Associated Press.
President Obama ordered the three years of tariffs Sept. 2 in response to a complaint from the United Steelworkers under Section 421 of the Trade Act. The tariffs total 35 percent in the first year, 30 percent in the second and 25 percent in the third. These tariffs come in addition to the normal 4-percent U.S. tariff on tires from China.
The USW hailed the tariffs as necessary to prevent continuing job losses in the U.S. tire manufacturing industry. But the Chinese government, which requested formation of a WTO panel in December, said the tariffs were unfair. Tire retailers, led by the Tire Industry Association, said the tariffs would only create shortages on the lower end of the tire market and cost thousands of jobs in the tire retailing sector without creating jobs in tire manufacturing.
The WTO action is a natural step in the appeals process, and is likely to take a long time, according to Paul Fiore, TIA director of government and business affairs. “This process could outlast the tariffs themselves,” he said.