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July 23, 2014

Chinese import facts, per the ITC and USW

Why did the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) determine, in its own words, "there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of certain passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value"?

Here is the fact sheet from which the ITC based its decision ("ITC says Chinese imports may be harmful").

1. Number of domestic tire producers in 2013: Nine.

2. Location of producers' plants: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

3. Employment of production and related workers in 2013: 29,000.

4. Apparent U.S. consumption in 2013: $22.3 billion.

5. Ratio of the value of total U.S. imports to total U.S. consumption in 2013: 47%.

6. Worth of consumer tire imports from China in 2013: $ 2.3 billion.

7. Worth of consumer tire imports from other countries in 2013: $ 8.2 billion.

8. Leading sources of consumer tires, in terms of value, in 2013: China, Canada, Korea and Japan.

And here are the facts as the United Steelworkers International union sees them. The USW filed the initial petitions seeking relief from "unfairly traded Chinese tires."

"The ITC’s preliminary determination is a vital step on the path to restoring fair trade in passenger vehicle and light truck tires," says USW International President Leo Gerard.

"President Obama in 2009 responded to a case filed by the USW and provided relief under a different section of our trade laws to stop a flood of these tires from China. That action helped stabilize the industry for the three years that relief was in place. But as soon as the safeguard ended, China once again targeted the U.S. market, attacking the jobs of U.S. workers. Massive dumping and subsidization of tires began to capture market share here in the United States.”

USW International Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson says that “while relief was in place, billions of dollars in investments were made by firms producing tires in the United States in new plant and equipment. But China’s targeting of our industry has injured our members. They work hard and play by the rules and all they want is a fair chance to compete. They deserve to have our nation’s trade laws aggressively and faithfully enforced.”

Tom Conway, USW vice president, says China’s leaders aren’t interested in following the rules of international trade. "They’re only interested in a win-at-any-cost, play-by-any-rules trade policy. The USW plays by the rules, but when other countries thumb their noses at fair play and cheat, our primary recourse is to pursue lengthy, expensive and sometimes uncertain processes to restore fairness and save our jobs. In essence, the only way we win is by losing: We have to lose jobs before we can act, and by the time relief is provided, if it even is, we’re faced with digging out of a hole.”

Gerard says the USW has brought or participated in more trade cases than any single entity. "That is not a badge of honor. It’s a sign that our trade laws are in need of dramatic reform.

“We’re waging a fight against unfair trade based on rules that are more than a quarter century old, while our competitors target industry after industry. Things must change. Workers, and America, can’t afford much more of this.”

For a different viewpoint, read "If tire tariffs are implemented, tire prices will rise again."

Related Topics: Chinese tire imports, ITC, Leo Gerard, USW

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  1. Wallace | July 24, 2014 at 10:50AM
    I would like to say that our business increased in South Ga. by over 40% in 2013 after the tarriff had been removed. Our local economy is not that off the larger city's so we are on a shoe string budget. I would like to know where the tarriff money went to. It is not fair that a union puts small business out of business due to greed.

  2. B | July 24, 2014 at 10:51AM
    When the tariffs were implemented in 2009 we were in the hardest times of our recession. Of course over hte last 2-3 years many industries have started investing in their infastructure to rebuild what was lost. The tariffs applied to Chinese tires only drove up the cost of their tires which allowed US manufacturers to drive up their cost and blame it on raw materials, but everyone knows the real reason. It is all about charging what the market will bear. If the competition is charging more, why not make more money and everyone will charge more. There will not be any additional jobs created by this. The jobs are already being created with Yokohama, Toyo, Goodyear and other plants being built and starting production right now. If this goes through, everyone will simply claim these jobs as being created by the tariff when actually they have already been created when there is NO tariff in place.

  3. Samuel | November 11, 2014 at 01:59PM
    Tariffs create jobs that are already there?

    I only know the lower class people who cannot afford the major brands will be harmed badly.

    Those people will have no choice but to pay for these tariff bills.

    Where's their alternatives for some lower costs tire products?

    The major brands are ready to raise their prices for whatever reasons.

    It is quite painful to understand the lower class got the worst of the case.

    Implementing tariffs is not the answer.

    Let's seek some balance instead.

    Let's see if this APEC works better in this sense.

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