The U.S. Department of Commerce will move forward with the next step in investigating whether passenger and light truck tires imported from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are being dumped in the U.S. market.
The government additionally is examining whether tires imported from Vietnam are receiving subsidies from the government.
The DOC formally decided to initiate an investigation on June 23. Its investigation will occur concurrently as the International Trade Commission (ITC) works to answer the same questions — whether tires from these four countries are harming the U.S. domestic tire industry. The ITC is scheduled to take its next step by July 17.
The United Steelworkers is seeking tariffs on these PLT tires, saying the domestic industry, which includes its members at union plants in the U.S., are suffering due to the pricing actions and subsidies of imports from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The alleged dumping rates range from 5.48% to 217.50%. Here’s a breakdown of those rates by country:
As for the subsidies, the government plans to examine 20 subsidy programs to determine whether producers in Vietnam are receiving “unfair government subsidies.”
If both the DOC and the ITC determine that products are being dumped and/or benefiting from subsidies, the government will impose tariffs on the PLT tires from these countries to counterbalance their effects. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency would be instructed to begin collecting cash deposits on tires imported from those countries.
But it’s important to remember that this is an early step in the process. Both the DOC and the ITC will conduct lengthy, months-long investigations that likely won’t be wrapped up until sometime in 2021.
Still, the imported tires from these countries have played a big role in the U.S. market, and their importance has grown since tariffs were imposed on tires imported from China as many tiremakers moved molds and shifted production outside of China as a way to more effectively serve the U.S. market. These four countries are among the top 10 countries importing tires into America. In 2019 the tires from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam were collectively valued at more than $3.9 billion.