A disagreement over the expertise needed to mount off-the-road tires is unfolding as part of the tariff investigation.

That dispute came to light in the recently published 175-page report by the International Trade Commission (ITC) explaining its 6-0 vote to continue the investigation of OTR imports from India and Sri Lanka. Read the commission’s full report here.

Titan Tire Corp. said there is a stark difference in its tire manufacturing process compared to its tire mounting process.

“According to Titan, in contrast to the huge capital investment and sophisticated equipment required for OTR tire production, the equipment needed in mounting operations consists of a tire clamp and a mounting arm.”

Titan said the training and technical expertise of its mounting employees is far less than those who work in tire production, and the wages of those who mount tires is lower than those who manufacture them.

But two OTR tire manufacturers countered Titan’s simplified notion of the process. Alliance Tire Americas pointed to the Tire Industry Association’s OTR mounting training courses. Alliance also reminded the ITC of its findings from an earlier OTR tire investigation, in which the ITC noted “there was a six-month training period to learn how to mount these largest tires.” Alliance said even though that was from a separate case, “the point remains that the process of mounting tires, particularly tires at the higher end of the size ranges specified by petitioners, is not necessarily a simple operation.”

CEAT Ltd., a tire manufacturer based in India, also countered the idea of a simple process.

“We submit that under no circumstance can the commission consider that the mounting operations be ignored as a minor or insignificant assembly process.”

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