The ITC determination represents the second victory for the USW in six years against Chinese tire producers and distributors.
From September 2009 to September 2012, the union won three years of high tariffs against Chinese passenger and light truck tires under Section 421 of the Trade Act, which helps U.S. industries injured by sharp increases in Chinese imports.
On June 3, 2014, the USW petitioned the ITC again, this time under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act.
The union asked for antidumping and countervailing duties against the Chinese, claiming the Chinese tire imports to the U.S. skyrocketed literally from the very minute the Section 421 tariffs lapsed.
This increase in Chinese imports led to reduced production and job layoffs at U.S. tire production facilities, the USW argued.
Representatives of Chinese tire manufacturers and importers claimed their tires did not affect U.S. production or jobs. They cited a U.S. tire manufacturing capacity rate of 91 percent, as well as $3.3 billion in new investment in U.S. tire manufacturing.
In his comments, Gerard noted this was the first time under modern countervailing and antidumping law that a union filed an action on its own.
“Increasingly, the question of whether our trade laws are actually going to be enforced is being left to the workers, as companies and our government are either conflicted or have different priorities,” he said. “The positive outcome may have resulted in part to recent changes in our trade laws pushed by the USW.”
In comments other than those by Cooper Tire and the USW, Giti Tire Group said it had nothing to add to what it said June 12 when Commerce issued its antidumping and countervailing duty findings.
At that time, Giti said it was disappointed and would formulate its course of action once the ITC had voted.
The Tire Industry Association, which opposed the Section 421 tariffs in 2009, was actually split this time, according to TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield.
Tire dealers who sell Chinese tires in the U.S. were opposed to the new duties, Littlefield said, whereas retreaders who face stiff competition from low-cost Chinese imports favored them.
“This is a classic situation of the NTDRA vs. the ARA,” Littlefield said, referring to TIA's forerunner associations, the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and the American Retreaders' Association. “The NTDRA and the ARA would have disagreed with each other.”