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USW looks to President Obama for 'relief'

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The United Steelworkers union believes that President Barack Obama will provide "meaningful relief" for the domestic tire manufacturing industry later this month when he makes the final ruling on the Chines tire import tariff case.

Obama is expected to make his ruling on Sept. 17.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) wants a 55% duty to be placed on certain Chinese-made consumer tires during the first year of sanctions, with a 45% duty the next year and a 35% duty applied during the third year.

The level of duties suggested would be equivalent to the imposition of a severe quota on said tires, says Dennis King, vice president of Dunlap & Kyle Co., a Batesville, Miss.-based dealership that sells Chinese tires. (Dunlap & Kyle also is a member of the American Coalition for Free Trade in Tires, a group that opposes the ITC's recommendation.)

"A 55% tariff is way too high," says King.

Jim Mayfield, president of fellow coalition member Del-Nat Tire Corp., says duties "would severely impact the ability to import anything from China. In the short-term, there would be disruptions in the U.S. market, and in the long-term, the (Chinese) manufacturing base would shift to low-cost countries."

The Steelworkers originally called for a quota to be placed on certain Chinese passenger and light truck tire imports. The union claims that the influx of Chinese-made tires into the U.S. has led to the closing of American tire manufacturing plants.



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