PITTSBURGH—The United Steelworkers union "welcomed" the International Trade Commission's ruling on June 23 to uphold the imposition of antidumping duties on consumer tires from South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
"We're grateful that the ITC affirmed what USW members see every day: a deliberate effort to undercut our domestic industry and overtake our market," USW International President Tom Conway said."Time and time again USW members lead the fight to protect their jobs and their communities from the devastating effects of unfair trade and ensure a level playing field for domestic producers.
"This case was no different. I'm proud of all the hard work our members do every day, not just in making high-quality tires but also in safeguarding this vital industry."
The USW petitioned the U.S. government in May 2020 for relief from what it called "dumped and subsidized" passenger and light truck tires from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The ITC's ruling cements elevated import duties on nearly $4 billion in imports from South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, as determined earlier by the U.S. Commerce Department, which based its earlier ruling on its belief that such tires "are being, or are likely to be, sold in the U.S. at less than fair value."
The ITC terminated the antidumping investigation into imports from Vietnam; the USW did not comment on that aspect of the commission's decision.
Kevin Johnsen, who chairs the USW's Rubber/Plastics Industry Conference, said the ITC's decision was an important step toward leveling the playing field for domestic tire makers, but it must not be the last.
"We need long-term, sustainable solutions for bad trade," Johnsen said. "While we are grateful for the work of both the ITC and the Commerce Department, our current system is clearly broken. Before we can get remedies, we must demonstrate harm in the form of lost jobs and reduced market share. By that time, American workers are already suffering. We can and must do better."
P/LT tire imports from the targeted nations totaled 85.4 million units in 2020, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.
The USW represents approximately 12,000 workers at eight consumer tire factories in the U.S., operated by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (Findlay, Ohio, and Texarkana, Ark.); Goodyear (Fayetteville, N.C., and Topeka, Kan.); Michelin North America Inc. (Fort Wayne, Ind., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.); Sumitomo Rubber North America (Tonawanda, N.Y.); and Yokohama Tire Corp. (Salem, Va.)
There are 16 other non-union tire plants in the U.S. producing P/LT tires, with roughly 20,000 workers.