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Toyo comes out against proposed tariffs

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Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. has not taken a position on the United States International Trade Commission's (ITC's) view that consumer tire imports from China have caused a "market disruption." However, it is against additional tariffs recomended by the commission.

(For background, see http://www.moderntiredealer.com/News/Story/2009/06/ITC-announces-remedies-in-Chinese-tire-import-case.aspx.)

The Office of  the U.S. Trade Representative recently listened to proponents and opponents of the proposed tariffs, and is preparing its own recommendations to President Obama. The president, in turn, will make a final decision on the matter no later than Sept. 17, 2009.

In public comments sent to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Toyo wrote that the ITC's proposed tariffs "would prevent Toyo from importing any tires from China during the three-year remedy period.'

"The ITC's proposed remedy would, in effect, be a zero quota."

Toyo Tire Holdings, a subsidiary of Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., produces consumer tires in its White, Ga., plant. It also imports tires from facilities in Japan and from a joint venture in China.

"Toyo sells only high-quality tires in what is described as the mid- and premium-range tire segments," wrote the company. "The imported China-made tires fill out the mid-range product line of Toyo. Toyo's imports of replacement tires from China have increased somewhat over the period of the ITC's investigation... but Toyo's imports cannot be characterized as part of any import surge.

"Toyo considers that there is a future for U.S. tire manufacturing, and Toyo has put its money behind this conclusion with the initial investment and expansion of its (Georgia) facility. Toyo does not consider the future to be in producing lower- or mid-range tires in the U.S.; the large majority of those tires are made outside the United States."

Toyo added that its customers require that it "sell a line of products, not just the premium-range tires.

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