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ITC makes affirmative determination in Chinese import case

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ITC makes affirmative determination in Chinese import case

The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has made an affirmative determination in the Chinese tire import case.

The determination is in response to a petition filed by the United Steelworkers that a quota be placed on the number of Chinese-built tires entering the U.S. market.

The union claims that the influx of Chinese tires into the U.S. had led to the closing of American tire manufacturing plants and subsequent job losses.

On June 2, the ITC heard testimonies from both the union and companies that import and/or sell Chinese-made consumer tires.

The ITC says it will release more information about the ruling. At this point, the commission is expected to recommend what it calls "remedies," which will be forwarded to President Barack Obama's office. President Obama is expected to make an official ruling on the subject in September.

Union officials say they are "pleased" with the determination. The Steelworkers have asked the government to impose a quota of 21 million consumer tires per year.

"We anticipate the final decisions on remedies will improve domestic job security, increase production and sales, and allow for investment in capital equipment to better compete in the global market for the long term," said Tom Conway, USW International vice president, in a statement released today.

“We are disappointed that the International Trade Commission today supported the petition of the United Steelworkers and found that the U.S. tire market has been 'disrupted,'" says Vic DeIorio, executive vice president of GITI Tire (USA) Ltd. ”As we argued recently, over the past two decades, many U.S. tire manufacturers have adopted a business strategy of eliminating U.S. production for the lower cost replacement tire market in order to concentrate on more profitable tires.

“We are heartened that two commissioners agreed with our point of view.  We will be watching carefully as the Commission makes a recommendation on a remedy.

"No matter what the ITC recommends, we do not believe that American manufacturers will increase production in the United States of low-cost tires -- they will still focus on premium tires," says Delorio. "Instead, if there is a barrier placed on tires produced in China, we believe that U.S. manufacturers will simply increase importation of tires from other countries, such as Poland and Venezuela. We also believe that quotas or tariffs will lead to higher costs for American consumers.”

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