BEIJING—The China Rubber Industry Association plans to hire lobbying firms to counter the U.S. truck and bus tire tariff battle, according to CRIA Secretary General Xu Wenying.
“We believe this investigation is more political than commercial,” Xu said. “The USW is an important constituency of the Democratic Party, and the tariffs were brought up in the election year out of political motives.
“After the previous passenger car tire tariffs, imports from China were curbed but the U.S. domestic production did not rise—it just switched to imports from other countries,” Xu added.
This anti-dumping and countervailing investigation started in February is the fifth US-China tire tariff battle in less than a decade. According to the DOC, imports of truck and bus tires from China in 2015 were valued at $1.07 billion.
“The barrage of investigations have brought China's tire makers closer together. The sector's legal awareness has been raised and we are more experienced in defending ourselves,” Xu said.
CRIA is pessimistic about ITC's preliminary ruling in March because of the lack of time for more countermeasures, and is focusing on the final determination. Its series of efforts will also include choosing law firms, deciding on a general strategy, collecting data on exports, US importers and domestic and overseas sector-wide production, and organizing companies to attend hearings.
“There have been a handful of small companies unwilling to pitch in for lawyer fees,” Xu said, “but I believe it'll change over time as we provide more quality services.”