Tire Industry Doesn't Escape Trump's Chinese Tariffs

April 4, 2018

Of the 1,300 Chinese products the U.S. Trade Representative has recommended should be subject to an additional 25% tariff, there are some tires on the list. But there are also items critical to the manufacturing and retreading of tires.

Here’s a look at what Modern Tire Dealer found on the list. We’ve included the specific wording as the items were defined by the U.S. Trade office:

  • New pneumatic tires, of rubber, of a kind used on aircraft;
  • Retreaded pneumatic tires, of rubber, of a kind used on aircraft;
  • Retreaded pneumatic tires (nonradials), of rubber, not elsewhere specified or included;
  • Camel-back strips of unvulcanized rubber, for retreading rubber tires;
  • Machinery for molding or retreading pneumatic tires or for molding or otherwise forming inner tubes.

The inclusion of aircraft tires shouldn’t be much of a surprise, given that the largest U.S. exports to China last year were aircraft and aircraft parts. Aircraft is among the top export categories, with $15 billion of product sent to China in 2016. Aircraft, and plenty of aircraft parts and supplies, are among the 1,300 products on the list. (Review the full list, and the information about submitting comments, here.)

The list, made public April 3, comes after President Donald Trump instructed Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify products that should be assessed tariffs when imported into the U.S. from China. Here’s how products were identified:

“Trade analysts from several U.S. government agencies identified products that benefit from Chinese industrial policies, including Made in China 2025. The list was refined by removing specific products identified by analysts as likely to cause disruptions to the U.S. economy, and tariff lines that are subject to legal or administrative constraints. The remaining products were ranked according to the likely impact on U.S. consumers, based on available trade data involving alternative country sources for each product. The proposed list was then compiled by selecting products from the ranked list with lowest consumer impact.”

The trade value of the items on the list is about $50 billion for 2018.

The next step

Unlike typical tariff investigations, when rates are set the tariffs become effective almost immediately, this process will work differently. There’s a chance these tariffs will never go into effect — because Trump might work out a trade deal with China. (Within a day of the White House publishing this list, China responded with its own list of U.S. products that would be subject to tariffs when imported into China.)

But presuming this does continue, here are a few important dates:

April 23: The deadline to submit a request to appear and provide a summary of testimony that would be submitted at a May 15 public hearing.

May 11: Due date for anyone to submit written comments.

May 15: A public hearing will be held in the main hearing room at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E. Street SW in Washington, D.C. The hearing begins at 10 a.m.

May 22: The deadline to submit rebuttals to comments made at the hearing.

How to submit comments

The U.S. Trade Representative is creating a public comment form on its website on the Section 301 Investigation page.

The U.S. Trade Representative prefers that comments be submitted electronically, and it can be done through this portal. Users will need to input the docket number is USTR-2018-0005 and hit search. In the results there will be a link to “comment now.”

If unable to submit comments online, contact Sandy McKinzy at (202) 395-9483.

There are detailed instructions on how to submit comments, and how to participate in the public hearing, in the notice.