The International Trade Commission (ITC) is a step closer to having a full six-person membership. Jason Kearns, who had been nominated to the commission by President Barack Obama days before he left office, is expected to be re-nominated for the same post by President Donald Trump.
The president announced his intention to nominate Kearns on June 26.
The vacancy on the commission became important to the tire industry in February when the ITC voted 2-3 against the imposition of tariffs on truck and bus tires imported from China. A sixth member of the commission recused himself from the tariff investigation, and many cited his absence as the key factor. If the commission's vote had resulted in a tie, tariffs would have been imposed.
Kearns, of Colorado, currently serves as chief international trade counsel, on the Democratic staff, to the Committee on Ways and Means in the U.S. House of Representatives. He advises members of Congress on legislation related to trade and oversight issues with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He previously served three years in the Office of the General Counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative, and from 2000 to 2003 worked in international trade with the law firm WilmerHale.
If approved, Kearns would serve the remainer of a nine-year term, which expires Dec. 16, 2024.
In May Marangoni Tread North America Inc. filed a petition on the White House website on behalf of the retreading industry, asking the president to fill the vacant spot on the commission, and hopefully review the truck tire case. The petition fell far short of its goal of 100,000 signatures, which is the threshold for the White House to respond to any petition it receives.
In a press release following the president's nomination announcement, Marangoni says, "The petition drive was linked to the industry's desire to see the U.S. government reconsider an investigation into the perceived damage to the U.S. truck tire manufacturing and retreading industries from low-priced, low-quality Chinese imports."