Steelworkers happy with tariffs, and 'sick and tired' of China's approach

July 14, 2015

The United Steelworkers (USW) union is cheering the U.S. International Trade Commission's vote which makes final the tariffs on passenger and light truck tires made in China.

The Steelworkers filed the initial petition asking for relief from what it calls the unfair trade practicies of China, which the union says affects its membership at tire factories around the U.S. Read about the ITC's decision here: Chinese tire tariffs now are final!

In a statement issued by USW's International President, Leo Gerard, he says, "The outcome in the USW’s pursuit of this case will not only help protect USW members and their families but also helps protect the jobs and futures of the tens of thousands of workers employed within the U.S. tire industry.  

“This is the first case under modern dumping and countervailing duty law filed solely by the workers.  Increasingly the question of whether our trade laws are actually going to be enforced is being left to the workers, as companies and our government are either conflicted or have different priorities. The positive outcome may have resulted, in part, to recent changes in our trade laws pushed by the USW. These changes are important, but much more needs to be done to get our laws fairly and fully enforced.

“We’re sick and tired of China’s approach to trade and breaking of the rules.  Its entry into the World Trade Organization has done little to stop its cheating. Time after time, we are forced to clean up the mess caused by our negotiators generating insufficient enforcement capabilities.

“The USW brought Section 421 cases on passenger vehicle and light truck tires and convinced the Administration to provide relief. But as soon as the relief expired, the Chinese once again swamped our markets with unfairly-priced tires. Only after significant injury was demonstrated were we able to bring a case, something our government should have already done."

Steelworkers union leaders were among those who testified in an ITC hearing about the effects of the tariffs on production and staffing at plants around the country. Lawmakers who represent states that house some of those plants also offered testimony. (Read: China will resort to 'old ways' without tariff.)

Gerard says America's trade agreements fall short in opening foreign markets and stopping unfair trade.

“Trade should not be a one-way street. Until today, that street was dominated by the producers of Chinese-made, unfairly-traded tires. Now, we can begin to reclaim our market for more American-made tires and jobs.

“This decision will make a big difference for our members. With cases pending in the steel and paper sectors, the USW will continue to fight for every job. But, it’s time for our government to do its job and stop China from generating overcapacity in sector after sector. In September, when President Obama meets with Chinese President Xi, he should make this the top priority on his agenda.”