WASHINGTON—Citing “critical circumstances,” the United Steelworkers and its attorneys have petitioned Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker for expedited action on the USW's countervailing duty case against Chinese passenger and light truck tires.
In its Sept. 12 filing, the USW cited Commerce Department regulations stating that, when critical circumstances exist, the agency need not wait for a preliminary determination of subsidies to issue a preliminary critical circumstances determination.
The facts of the case, the USW said, show that critical circumstances demonstrating several material injury to the domestic tire industry exist. It urged Commerce to make a preliminary critical circumstances determination as soon as possible, but no later than the Nov. 21 deadline for the preliminary determination of subsidies.
The massive increase in Chinese tire imports in the past three years are more than enough to prove critical circumstances, the USW said. In June and July 2014 alone, it said, imports of passenger and light truck from China into the U.S. averaged 6.1 million units per month, a 26.5-percent increase over the 4.82 million average in the March-May 2014 period.
There was no word from the USW on when it expected a reply from Commerce, and attorneys for the Chinese tire makers could not be reached for comment.
The USW petitioned the ITC and Commerce June 3 for antidumping and countervailing duties against Chinese tires, under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act.
Between September 2009 and September 2012, the Obama administration levied high tariffs against Chinese tires under Section 421 of the Trade Act. Since the end of those tariffs, the USW alleged, Chinese tire imports to the U.S. have skyrocketed.
The ITC voted 6-0 on Aug. 15 that there is “a reasonable indication” that Chinese tire imports are causing material injury to the U.S. tire industry.
On Sept. 15, 31 U.S. senators sent a joint letter to Secretary Pritzker, supporting the USW's petitions for duties.