As with any decision regarding imported tires and tariffs and duties, there are winners and losers.
That certainly is the case following the surprising Feb. 22 decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission not to impose antidumping and countervailing duties on Chinese-made truck and bus tires imported into the U.S.
It largely had been assumed the ITC would rule the other way and make a final determination that the U.S. domestic truck and bus tire industry had suffered material damage from Chinese imports, this after the agency made a preliminary determination of material injury last March and the Department of Commerce issued final antidumping and countervailing duties against Chinese tire makers. But that turned out not to be the case.
One of the biggest losers in this decision is the U.S. retreading industry, which has been impacted negatively by low-priced new truck and bus tires primarily imported from China.
The culprit is the low prices of entry-level or opening price point new truck tires, which have fallen to the point where they have become competitively priced with retreads and, in some cases, are even priced lower.
This has resulted in reduced demand and declining revenues for retreaders as many fleets have opted to purchase the lower-priced new tires.
Also on the losing end is the United Steelworkers union, which had petitioned the ITC in January 2016 for antidumping and countervailing duty relief against Chinese tire makers and importers.
USW International President Leo Gerard called the decision "a huge mistake," noting the DOT had identified subsidies of 60 percent or more and dumping of up to 23 percent. As a result, the ITC failed to support relief for injured U.S. workers, he said.
But the ruling spells relief for many truck tire importers and tire manufacturers, including U.S. based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., which produces all of its Roadmaster truck and bus tires in China, and China Manufacturers Alliance L.L.C., the wholly owned subsidiary of China's Double Coin Holdings and the U.S. distributor of Double Coin tires.
"Anybody considering all the facts, including record profits for American manufacturers and their inability to even come close to satisfying domestic truck and bus tire demand, would have to conclude this was the right thing to do," said Walt Weller, CMA's senior vice president, strategic accounts.
The ITC's ruling has settled the issue for now, but with so many strong and divergent opinions, it's likely this subject will be revisited again.