WASHINGTON—U.S. production of retreaded tires grew 35 percent between 2009 and 2011, with and exports increased by 17 percent during the period, according to a report from the U.S. International Trade Commission.
About 680 facilities produced retread tires in 2011, 18 made off-the-road tires, five retread aircraft tires and four manufacture passenger retreads, according to the ITC report. Approximately 90 percent of the plants are owned by Goodyear, Bridgestone Americas and Michelin North America Inc.
The dollar value of total U.S. retread production reached $1.4 billion in 2011, up from about $1 billion in 2009, the report said. Annual investment in the retread industry increased by about 20 percent from 2009 to $24 million.
"Industry consolidation has reportedly spurred larger investments in U.S. retreading operations," the ITC said. Employment in tire retreading increased to 4,900 in 2011 from 3,900 in 2009.
The three largest tire makers plus Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. and Marangoni S.p.A. continued to expand existing retread plants and build new ones despite a shortage of casings in 2011, the ITC said.
While the U.S. is a small net exporter of retreads, retread exports did increase notably by dollar value between 2009 and 2011, to $18.5 million from $15.9 million, the report said.
Canada and Mexico consumed about 36 percent of retread exports, it said. Other countries that bought U.S. retreads included Vietnam, the European Union, South Africa and Guatemala.
The U.S. also imported $11.4 million worth of retreads in 2011—90 percent more than in 2009, but still accounting for less than 1 percent of total tire imports to the U.S., the ITC said. Canada provided most of the retread imports to the U.S., it said.
Global exports of retreads jumped to $253 million in 2011 from $187 million in 2009, with the EU accounting for nearly half the total, the report said. Russia was the biggest importer of retreads, consuming about 12 percent of the total, it said.
Global exports of tire casings stood at about $383.5 million in 2011, up 27 percent from 2009, the report said. Japan and the EU between them accounted for more than two-thirds of casing exports. The U.S. was the biggest importer of casings, consuming about 15 percent of the total, the report said.
Retreads took up 17 pages of a 284-page ITC report, "Remanufactured Goods: An Overview of the U.S. and Global Industries, Markets and Trade," dated October 2012.
In June 2011, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk asked the ITC to investigate the size and scope of the remanufactured goods industry in the U.S., including domestic markets, U.S. exports and factors affecting sales, trade and investment.
The ITC held a hearing in Washington Feb. 28 on the remanufactured goods issue. Marvin Bozarth, senior technical consultant for the Tire Industry Association, and David Stevens, managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau, testified on the retread industry at that hearing.