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'Error' Leads to Uptick in Tariffs on PLT Tires From China

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The U.S. Department of Commerce has made a slight adjustment to the countervailing tariff rate imposed on passenger and light truck tires from China.

After publishing the results of its most recent review and investigation in March, the United Steelworkers filed a notice that the DOC had made an error in its calculations. (Such mistakes are called ministerial errors in these filings.) 

In the scheme of things, the error and subsequent adjustment add up to a minor change in the overall tariff rate for some companies: from 24.79% to 25.63%. That rate will apply to these companies:

  • Sumitomo Rubber (Hunan) Co. Ltd. (and its cross-owned affiliates);
  • Jiangsu Hankook Tire Co. Ltd.;
  • Qingdao Landwinner Tyre Co. Ltd.; and
  • Shandong Province Sanli Tire Manufacture Co. Ltd.

It also leads to a slight increase in the rate for Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd., from 124.53% to 125.17%.

Here’s where the details are interesting.

The change stems from an adjustment that was made earlier in the review process, when the DOC determined it was using calculations that double counted ocean freight charges on some of the inputs used in tire construction.

At the time, Sumitomo Rubber (Hunan) Co. Ltd. (“SRH”), a subsidiary of Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (“SRI”), and the United Steelworkers both presented arguments for how to properly consider freight costs when establishing baseline prices. In that earlier stage, the DOC sided with Sumitomo’s calculations.

But after the tariff rates were reviewed and reset in March, the union said details related to that calculation were the cause of a ministerial error. And despite an argument by Sumitomo that the union was now trying to “reopen a methodological issue under the cloak of ministerial error comments,” the DOC did in fact adjust its calculation — which results in a slightly higher tariff for Sumitomo and the other parties.

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DOC Tweaks Tariffs on PLT Tires From China

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