The International Trade Commission has voted to continue the investigation of tariffs on truck tires imported into the U.S. from Thailand.
The vote is a procedural step in the process of any tariff investigation. In this instance, the United Steelworkers (USW) allege that truck tires imported into the U.S. from Thailand are injuring, or threaten to injure, the domestic industry. The USW says truck and bus tires from Thailand are being dumped in the U.S. at less-than-market prices. The USW alleges the dumping margins are as high as 47.8%.
ITC staff members held a hearing in early November where USW leaders and their attorneys made a case for the need for tariffs to protect the production work underway in U.S. truck and bus tire plants. They pointed to a significant increase in the number of imported tires from Thailand since the union was successful in its plea for tariffs to be levied against truck tires made in China.
USW representatives say Chinese tiremakers are the cause of the rise in tires from Thailand, as tiremakers have sought to move production to continue to serve the U.S. market.
Kevin Johnsen, chair of the rubber and plastics industry conference with the USW, told ITC representatives that Thailand’s share of the U.S. truck and bus tire market grew from 20% in 2020 to more than 30% in 2022. In that same timeframe, he said domestic market share fell from 45% to 28%, and that it “remained depressed” in 2023.
Leaders from Prinx Chengshan Tire North America were the only tire manufacturers to appear in person during the November session. The company said U.S. tiremakers and Thai manufacturers aren’t always competing for the same business, as much of the domestic industry is focused on the original equipment market, while Prinx Chengshan serves the replacement tire market.
The Nov. 30 vote by the ITC means the issue will continue through its preliminary phase, with both the ITC and the International Trade Association weighing in.