WASHINGTON—For the second time in five years, the United Steelworkers union has petitioned the International Trade Commission for relief against passenger and light truck tire imports from China.
The USW filed its petition June 3, requesting antidumping and countervailing duty relief under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act of 1930.
In April 2009, the union petitioned the ITC for relief under Section 421 of the Trade Act, designed to help U.S. industries being harmed by an upsurge of imports from China.
The ITC and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative found in the USW's favor. In September 2009 President Obama signed an order imposing three years of high tariffs against Chinese passenger and light truck tire imports.
The duties amounted to 39 percent the first year, 34 percent the second and 29 percent the third before reverting to their traditional rate of 4 percent in September 2012.
In a fact sheet on the new ITC petition, the USW called the tariffs “a real success” in helping the domestic tire industry and tire workers fight back against the plant closures and lost jobs caused by Chinese imports.
“But imports of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China have again surged back into the U.S. market,” the union said. From 24.6 million in 2011 and 31.5 million in 2012, Chinese tire imports totaled 50.8 million in 2013 at a value of nearly $2.1 billion, it said.
“The gain in China's market share was at the direct expense of U.S. workers and domestic producers,” the USW said. “The petition demonstrates that these surging tire imports are being aggressively subsidized by the Chinese government and being dumped at the U.S. market at less than fair value.”
The union said it has uncovered 41 subsidy programs available to Chinese tire makers, including numerous prohibited export subsidies.
Publicly available price information from tire retailers show Chinese tires undercutting the prices of U.S.-made tires by 12 to 40 percent, according to the union. Meanwhile, current dumping margins on tires imported from China are as high as 92 percent, it said.
“If these trends are allowed to continue, U.S. producers may lose another 10 million tire shipments to Chinese imports in 2014,” the union said.
The ITC has placed the USW petition on its list of recent and pending petitions on the agency website.