WASHINGTON—Importers and manufacturers of pneumatic truck and bus tires from China are reacting cautiously to the United Steelworkers union's petition to the International Trade Commission for countervailing and antidumping duties against those products.
The ITC has scheduled a Feb. 19 preliminary hearing on the USW's petition, which was filed Jan. 29—the very day officials of the USW and Titan Tire Corp. testified at the agency on their petition for antidumping and countervailing duties against mounted and unmounted off-the-road tires from China, India and Sri Lanka.
The petition specifically excludes recycled, retreaded and solid rubber tires.
In its petition, the USW said U.S. and Chinese truck and bus tires are essentially interchangeable, offered along the same array of sizes and products including steer, drive, trailer and all-position tires.
All types of truck and bus tires share common production facilities, production processes and employees, according to the petition. Customers and producers alike perceive all truck and bus tires as similar products, and they are offered along a continuum of prices, it said.
The USW represents workers at five of the eight truck and bus manufacturing facilities in the U.S., encompassing approximately 6,000 workers and some 66.8 percent of daily domestic truck and bus tire manufacturing capacity, the union said.
Quoting the ITC's figures, the USW said during the first nine months of 2015 China imported 6.7 million truck and bus tires to the U.S. with a Customs value of $817.6 million. This compared with 6.3 million tires worth $1.03 billion imported to the U.S. during all of 2012, it said.
“From 2012 to 2014, the U.S. imported from 6.3 to 8.4 million truck and bus tires a year from China, valued at close to or over a billion dollars each year,” the petition said. “China imported more tires to the U.S. than all other countries combined throughout the period.”
During the same period, China undersold U.S. producers of truck and bus tires at margins averaging from 57.38 to 62.25 percent, the petition said.
“While demand rose by 1.8 million tires, or 8.45 percent, from 2012 to 2014, imports from China grew even more rapidly, growing by 2.l million tires or 33.33 percent,” it said. “As a result, domestic producers saw their shipments decline by 800,000 tires, or 7.48 percent, and they participated in none of the demand growth over the period.”