NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 27, 2011)—Bridgestone Americas Inc. said it is evaluating the impact of a federal appeals court ruling on the legality of countervailing duties on certain OTR tire imports from China on its business and its “options going forward.”
Bridgestone is one of four defendants in a lawsuit filed by GPX International Tire Corp. in 2008 seeking to get the duties—imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department upon recommendation by the International Trade Commission—revoked.
While Bridgestone declined to comment directly on the court's ruling, it said it “believes that it's important that international trade is conducted on a level playing field that fosters healthy competition, leading to innovation, better quality and lower costs for consumers.”
Bridgestone is one of two domestic manufacturers, along with Titan Tire Corp., of the types of OTR tires—those up to 39 inches in rim diameter—covered by the countervailing duties.
Titan and the United Steelworkers union originally petitioned the U.S. government in 2007 to investigate the impact of certain Chinese-made OTR tires on U.S. manufacturers.
Bridgestone was not part of the original petition but later lent its support.
The ruling on Dec. 19 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. affects countervailing duties only. The Commerce Department in 2008 imposed both antidumping and countervailing duties, the latter of which range from 2.38 to 6.59 percent of value while the antidumping duties range as high as 210.5 percent, varying by manufacturer.
GPX, the original litigant in the case, filed for bankruptcy in late 2009—blaming the effects of the import duties for its demise—and its assets were later liquidated.
Winston & Strawn L.L.P., a Washington law firm representing GPX and GPX's Hebei Starbright subsidiary at the time, has continued to pursue the case on Hebei Starbright's behalf, even as ownership of the Chinese company shifted to Maine Industrial Tire L.L.C.
A second appellant, Tianjin United Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. is represented by separate counsel, Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt L.L.P. of Washington. Attorneys for Tianjin United haven't responded to request for comment.