WASHINGTON (Oct. 19, 2011)—United Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard has written the White House, asking the Obama administration to direct the University of Akron to suspend an information exchange agreement with a Chinese tire manufacturer.
The University of Akron recently signed an agreement with the Triangle Group for the university to share the results of polymer research with the tire maker, Gerard wrote in an Oct. 12 letter to Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.
In 2009, the Obama administration levied still Section 421 tariffs against Chinese tire imports after an investigation instigated by a USW petition, Gerard said in the letter. In the wake of the tariffs, he said, U.S. tire makers have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in domestic production.
“Polymer research goes to the heart of developing and bringing to market new compounds that will enhance the competitiveness of our industry,” Gerard wrote. “Thus it is particularly disturbing that the University of Akron is planning on engaging in a transaction with will enable Triangle to hire researchers at the Akron Polymer Research Innovation Center.”
Gerard urged the Obama administration to suspend the agreement until it could conduct a full investigation of the technology and research that will be transferred to Triangle.
Neither the White House nor the University of Akron could be reached for comment.