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USW 'Strongly Opposes' Tariff Settlement

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The USW has rejected a proposal by four Taiwanese tiremakers to settle the ongoing tariff investigation with a new agreement.

The United Steelworkers union says it “strongly opposes” the proposal from four Taiwanese tiremakers that would bring an end to the import investigation of passenger and light truck tires from Taiwan into the U.S.

Lawyers for the USW say the proposal, made by Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd., which does business as Maxxis; Federal Corp.; Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd.; and Nankang Rubber Tire Corp. Ltd., doesn’t meet the legal requirements to end the investigation. Such moves should only be made “if the agreement is in the public interest...and meets specific criteria,” including that the trade can be properly monitored.

The USW says the plan the Taiwanese producers set out doesn’t meet that requirement, and that its proposal should be “especially distrusted” because the agreement could allow importers “to engage in a certain amount of dumping.”

The union filed this case, and all of its previous tire cases, because it says the imports are harming the domestic industry.

The union also says the proposal doesn’t meet the threshold in showing there are “extraordinary circumstances” that would warrant something other than the continuation of the investigation by the Department of Commerce.

Likewise, the USW disputes the tiremakers’ assertion that the investigation is “complex.” It points to the assertion made by Maxxis, Federal, Kenda and Nankang as partial proof of that — those four tiremakers say they account for at least 85% of the volume of PLT exports from Taiwan. The union says this proves that “the number of firms involved is not large” and there aren’t a large number of transactions or adjustments to consider.

Additionally, the USW notes that of the four regions currently under investigation, Taiwan represents the smallest volume of tires. (In its original petition, the union said 2019 Taiwanese imports amounted to 8.8 million tires, compared to 12 million from Vietnam, 19 million from South Korea and 45 million from Thailand.)

The DOC has yet to issue an opinion on the proposal from the tiremakers. But in other matters the DOC has relied heavily on how the petitioner in a case — that’s the USW — frames and/or views the argument.

When the DOC recently agreed to narrow the scope of the tariff investigation and not include ATV tires, UTV tires and light truck spare tires, it noted that the DOC provides “ample deference to the petitioner with respect to the definitions of the product for which it seeks relief.” In that matter, the union wasn’t opposed to excluding ATV, UTV or light truck spare tires.

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