WASHINGTON (July 6, 2010)—The U.S. government has withdrawn the duty-free status for some passenger tires imported from Thailand under an annual review of the Generalized System of Preferences program.
The decision by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative didn't specify what tires are covered by the change nor what the tariff will be. In general, the U.S. levies tariffs of 4 percent on the declared value of tires imported from most countries.
Under the GSP program, 131 beneficiary developing countries, including 43 least-developed countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Cambodia, are eligible to export approximately 5,000 types of products duty-free to the U.S., according to information from the USTR.
The U.S. sourced 3.59 million passenger tires from Thailand last year, according to U.S. Commerce Department data, or about 3.6 percent of all tires imported. The average value of a car tire from Thailand was $43.65, the data show. Thailand also sent nearly 600,000 light truck tires at an average value of $71.68.
The United Steelworkers union earlier this year supported the change in the duty status of tire imports from Thailand, while Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations L.L.C., Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd. and tire importer/distributor Falken Tire Corp. opposed it.