WASHINGTON—Titan Tire Corp. and the United Steelworkers union will soon file their second joint petition against off-the-road tire imports with the International Trade Commission, according to Morry Taylor, Titan president and CEO.
Taylor mentioned the pending joint action during a Nov. 6 teleconference, and confirmed it in a Nov. 10 telephone interview. He said he expected the papers to be filed within the next 10 days.
“If you're going to have manufacturing, you have to support it where it's at,” Taylor said about the pending petition. “I believe in free trade, but when it's a one-way street, it's not right.”
The USW declined comment on Taylor's remarks.
The new action, according to Taylor, will be filed against Chinese and Indian OTR tire importers. The previous petition, filed in June 2007, asked the ITC for antidumping and countervailing duties against OTR tires imported from China to the U.S. Bridgestone Americas participated in the petition as a domestic interested party.
In June 2008, the Commerce Department found that Chinese importers were selling OTR tires in the U.S. market at up to 210.48 percent less than normal value and receiving government subsidies ranging from 2.45 to 14 percent. The ITC's July 2008 material injury finding officially put the countervailing and antidumping duties in place.
The affected Chinese manufacturers later unsuccessfully challenged the countervailing duties in federal court, claiming that they violated both the Ex Post Facto and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
In the current case, according to Taylor, Titan and the USW have found evidence that some Chinese importers are trying to circumvent the duties by sending their tires to the U.S. as tire-wheel assemblies.
“They stick a wheel in it, and that changes the number for import purposes,” he said, referring to the category numbers assigned to imported goods by the Commerce Department.
Some of these tires have come from India as well as China, according to Taylor. “Before this, India was not involved,” he said. “It never made those tires.”
Taylor said he was confident of victory in the case. Not only is the evidence overwhelming, he said, but the composition of the ITC is even more favorable to U.S. manufacturing now than it was when Titan and the ITC won their first duties case.
“In the old case, most of the commissioners were appointed by George W. Bush,” he said. “Now, most of the commissioners were appointed by Barack Obama, and they take a harder look at imports sliding around the codes.”
Taylor said he thought Titan and the USW would gain support from other tire makers with this petition, as well as from U.S. steelmakers hurt by the imported wheels.