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Goodyear, Bridgestone weigh in on tariff ruling

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC have released official statements on the new Chinese consumer tire import tariffs, which will go into effect Sept. 26, 2009.

Goodyear's Keith Price, director of national media relations and business communications, commented on the possible impact of the ruling, which increases tariffs on Chinese-made passenger and light truck tires for three years: 35% the first year, 30% the second year and 25% the third year.

"As a global company with operations in all regions, Goodyear is a proponent of free and fair trade across the globe," he said.

"We have limited exposure to the kinds of products that are currently coming into North America from China since Goodyear primarily sells its tires in the regions and markets where they are manufactured. Less than two percent of the tires we sell in North America come from China.

"There are too many variables to truly understand or estimate the impact at this point," said Price. "We acknowledge that this ruling will likely impact other regions of the world because of two factors:  1) Tire makers can shift their current Chinese-based production to other countries to bypass any potential tariffs to serve the U.S., and 2) The excess capacity from China that would become available because of tariffs is likely to flow to other regions."

Bridgestone's official comment also remains neutral.

"Bridgestone Americas believes that it’s important that international trade is conducted on a level playing field that fosters healthy competition, leading to innovation, better quality and lower costs for consumers.

"Reasonable minds can differ on whether or not this situation is one which calls for action at a governmental level. That being said, we continue to remain neutral on this matter and respect the president’s right to take the action announced last week."

For more information on the issue, see "President sets first-year tariffs at 35%."

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