Does the U.S. Market Need OTR Tires From India?

March 7, 2022

Four tiremakers support revoking the tariffs on off-the-road tires made in India, and they say doing so wouldn’t harm the domestic OTR tire industry in the U.S. one bit.

Titan Tire Corp. wholeheartedly disagrees with their assessment, and says “there would be serious and immediate negative effects on the U.S. industry if the orders on Indian OTR tires were revoked.”

The OTR tiremakers have all filed introductory paperwork in a tariff investigation that will review the OTR tire market five years after tariffs were assessed on products coming into the U.S. from India. OTR tires imported from those countries have been subject to either anti-dumping or countervailing duties — or both — since March 2017.

The International Trade Commission is conducting the review.

In addition to Titan, the other tiremakers who intend to participate in the review include: Apollo Tyres Ltd., ATC Tires Private Ltd./Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America Inc., Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) and JK Tyre Industries Ltd. Titan makes its tires in the U.S. The four other companies produce OTR tires in India.

Here’s six things we learned from the initial filings:

  • BKT says the value of OTR tires imported into the U.S. from India exceeded $345 million in 2021. And even though BKT identifies itself, along with Alliance (now owned by Yokohama) as “the major foreign producers” of OTR tires in India, BKT also notes that the “USA is not a major market for BKT.”
  • Apollo produces and exports OTR tires from India, but it didn’t import any of those tires into the U.S. in 2021.
  • JK Tyres notes that imports from India have continued “at a constant rate,” and there is a need to import products “as the U.S. industry is unable to cater to the entire demand in the country.” The company also notes that “any decline in performance of the U.S. industry is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and not due to imports.”
  • With Alliance as the manufacturer and Yokohama noted as the importer, their joint filing notes that demand for OTR tires “is currently extremely strong, and that producers in both the U.S. and Indian OTR industry, including ATC, are believed to be substantially backordered.” Plus, due to supply chain constraints, the company suggests that even if the tariffs were set aside, “ATC would be unable to meaningfully increase its exports to the United States in the immediate future.” Additionally, ATC and Yokohama point out that OTR tire prices have increased “significantly since 2021, and are projected to continue increasing in the imminent future.” The increase is due to two factors — tightening supply, which has been caused by both an increase in demand and supply chain constraints, as well as higher prices of the raw materials used to build tires.
  • Titan continues to support the tariffs, and says the domestic industry has benefited from them, though it “remains vulnerable to material injury” if they were revoked. Titan maintains that if the tariffs were eliminated, OTR tiremakers in India would return to their behaviors prior to 2017 and would “export OTR tires to the U.S. in increased volumes accompanied by significant price underselling. This would have a serious and immediate negative impact on the U.S. industry. The adverse volume and price effects that would result from the additional subject import supply to the U.S. market would unquestionably result in a loss of sales, decline in profitability, employment losses and possible exit from the industry of additional U.S. OTR tires capacity.”
  • BKT and Alliance/Yokohama both point to Titan’s own financial results as proof that the domestic tiremaker isn’t hurting — including its third quarter 2021 results which Titan said were its best since 2013. BKT additionally notes that “domestic producers are reducing SKUs.” It points to Titan’s 2019 annual report, and says the tiremaker has eliminated “hundreds of SKUs” to improve productivity and efficiency. BKT says its ability to maintain imports to the U.S. is in part to provide those SKUs to customers.
About the Author

Joy Kopcha | Managing Editor

After more than a dozen years working as a newspaper reporter in Kansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, Joy Kopcha joined Modern Tire Dealer as senior editor in 2014. She has covered murder trials, a prison riot and more city council, county commission, and school board meetings than she cares to remember.