The leader of the United Steelworkers union says the International Trade Commission has made "a huge mistake" in not imposing tariffs on truck and bus tires from China. And based on early feedback from Modern Tire Dealer readers, tire dealers and particularly retreaders agree.
Jason Lightbody is among the MTD readers weighing in. He's manager of the tire and oil division at Houska Automotive Inc., a single-store in Fort Collins, Colo. Lightbody says, "There is little doubt they are flooding the market with low cost tires. We must all do our civic duties and let our political representatives know how this affects our businesses." Read more comments at the bottom of our original Feb. 22 story here, and join the conversation.
The union is reacting to the ITC's Feb. 22 vote that puts an end to the tariff investigation the Steelworkers initiated in January 2016. The ITC voted 2-3 against imposing tariffs on Chinese truck and bus tires.
"The ITC commissioners made a huge mistake," says USW International President Leo Gerard. "While the Department of Commerce identified subsidies of up to more than 60% and dumping of up to almost 23%, the ITC failed to support relief for the injured workers. That simply ignores the facts and the harm that Chinese unfairly-traded exports have caused the workers.
"The size of the margins clearly indicated the serious nature of the problem, but our law separates the facts from the determination of whether injury has occurred. For too long, that has jeopardized the jobs of workers across the country that make high quality products. Our members can compete against companies, but not countries. That's exactly what happens when it comes to competing against China.
"The injury that the workers making truck and bus tires have experienced is tragic. Massive subsidies and dumping must be challenged."
USW International Vice President Tom Conway says, "China continues to ramp up capacity throughout the tire sector, seeking to sell here at any price. It is time for the government to step in so that workers do not have to continue to shoulder the burden of failed trade agreements and policies. Workers are demanding that our government stand up for their interests."
And Stan Johnson, secretary-treasurer for USW International says, "For many years we have fought Chinese companies targeting the U.S. market and American workers with unfair practices. Our members in the tire sector have stood their ground and fought like hell to stop China's dumping and subsidies. Today, workers making truck and bus tires have been left holding the short end of the stick. We will look to the Congress and the new Administration to determine whether other steps can be taken to save these vital family-supportive jobs.
"The fight for these jobs is far from over," says Johnson.
For more information: www.usw.org.