UPDATED: One manufacturer's tariff reaction: 'stunned'

June 15, 2015

Following the U.S. Department of Commerce’s re-calculation of anti-dumping and countervailing duty rates, domestic manufacturers and marketers affected by the determination generally are taking a wait-and-see approach.

In nearly every instance, the rates are higher than originally proposed in the DOC's preliminary ruling. The anti-dumping rates range from 14.35% to 87.99%, and the countervailing rate spread is even larger, from 20.73% to 100.77%. See the rates for every affected company, and other details here.

One industry executive, hoping for the rates to be lowered, says he was “stunned” by the decision.

Six companies have made official comments -- or "no comments" -- to date.

“The ITA’s announcement regarding duties on Chinese passenger and light truck tires has no effect on the way Nexen Tire will go to market and position its brand," said Kyle Roberts, director of marketing for Nexen Tire America Inc. "We will continue to move forward with our dealer education program, which is designed to elevate the perception of Nexen tires within the retail channel, giving those retailers the information needed to better sell against competitive brands."

Roberts said Nexen owns advanced manufacturing facilities, which produce high-quality tires at a great value.

"We have increased our capacity by over 4 million units in the past year, and filled our warehouses with the proper product to fill any possible gaps created in industry supply. In our opinion, if there is a supply shortage created by these new duties, it would make sense to look at Nexen as the perfect partner to fill those needs with a reliable tire at the correct price point.”

Giti Tire (USA) Ltd., with duties totaling close to 67%, said it “is in the process of reviewing the announcement details and will withhold comments until that process is completed."

Bridgestone Americas Inc. said it was maintaining its “neutral position on this matter.” Bridgestone imports Fuzion and Primewell tires from China.

TBC Corp., which owns the exclusive rights to sell Sailun in the U.S., has no comment at this time. Sailun Group Co. Ltd. was the only company to see its rate drop. Its anti-dumping tariff dropped from 18.58 to 14.35%.

Hankook Tire America Corp. also has no comment at this time. Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. said it will not comment "on developments related to this news."

The United Steelworkers (USW) had more to say than the tire manufacturers. The USW, which filed unfair trade cases asserting China was dumping and subsidizing tires for market in the U.S., says the June 12, 2015, ruling is a step toward relief for its union members and related tire factories.

Leo Gerard, USW International president, says the “announcement further validates our allegations made more than one year ago about the unfair trade practices of tire producers in China. They have once again targeted the U.S. market in an attempt to increase employment in China at the cost of job opportunities here in America. 

“We shouldn’t have to wait so long for relief, nor spend so much time and effort proving what is evident to anyone. China is cheating and it’s costing us jobs.”

USW local leaders testified in hearings about job and production losses they say were a direct result of the expiration of the last tariff on tires made in China.

“We made clear that Chinese imports have dampened production, job creation and wages here at home,” Gerard said. “China is taking advantage of our market but claims that no one is being injured.  That’s simply not true.”

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