WASHINGTON—The International Trade Commission has voted 4-2 to continue antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of truck and bus tires imported from China, and the United Steelworkers union is hailing the decision as a step forward for tire workers.
An attorney representing the marine intermodal tire sector, meanwhile, said he is waiting for the ITC's report on its March 11 decision.
The USW petitioned the ITC Jan. 29, alleging that Chinese truck and bus tire imports are causing injury to the U.S. truck/bus tire sector through a combination of underselling domestic producers and unfair government subsidies.
ITC Vice Chairman Dean A. Pinkert and Commissioners David S. Johanson, Rhonda K. Schmidtlein and Irving A. Williamson voted in the affirmative, meaning that they found sufficient evidence of injury to advance the investigations past the preliminary stage. Chairman Meredith M. Broadbent and Commissioner F. Scott Kieff voted in the negative.
The investigations now go to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is scheduled to issue its preliminary countervailing duty determinations on or about April 25 and its preliminary antidumping duty determinations on or about July 7.
The USW represents about 6,000 workers in five truck and bus tire plants in the U.S. The facilities account for more than two-thirds of domestic truck and bus tire capacity, according to the union.
“China is stealing our jobs, and we have to stop its unfair trade practices,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said in a March 11 statement.
“China's ongoing attack on our members' jobs and the U.S. manufacturing base is unacceptable,” he said. “In a period of strong domestic demand in this sector, the American industry has seen all the new opportunities go offshore, with China causing the most problems.”
“This case, which is yet another segment of the tire industry targeted by China, will benefit all workers making truck and bus tires in the United States, whether or not they are members of the USW,” said Stan Johnson, USW international secretary-treasurer
At the Feb. 19 preliminary hearing on the USW petitions, representatives of the marine intermodal chassis industry argued that the specific tires they use—1000x20 bias-ply tube-type tires on two-part rims—should be excluded from the investigation.
Those tires, they said, are not made in the U.S. and have no substitutes made in the U.S., the industry representatives said. Antidumping and countervailing duties on those tires would have no purpose except to punish the marine intermodal industry, they said.
Ned Marshak, a New York attorney representing the marine intermodal industry, said he needed to see the ITC's report to Commerce—due to be issued March 21—before he could comment on the vote.
“Without an explanation, we're really not able to comment at this time,” he said.
Officials of the China Rubber Industry Association in Beijing could not be reached for comment. However, CRIA Secretary General Xu Wenying said previously that his organization will hire lobbying firms to help it present its case in the truck and bus tire investigation.