DOC admits mistake, implements lower tariffs

Dec. 23, 2014

The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) is amending its "Preliminary Determination" of the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from the People's Republic of China to correct significant "ministerial" errors.

"We are also amending the scope of the investigation in response to comments submitted following the publication of the Preliminary Determination," says the DOC. The period of investigation is Jan. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013.

The DOC defines a ministerial error as "an error in addition, subtraction, or other arithmetic function, clerical error resulting from inaccurate copying, duplication, or the like, and any other similar type of unintentional error which the secretary considers ministerial."

In this case, the DOC made a mistake in regard to the tariff imposed on GITI Tire (Fujian) Co. Ltd. (and certain cross-owned companies). Because the "All others" rate for Chinese exporters was based on a weighted average of the rates for GITI and Cooper Kunshan Tire Co. Ltd. (Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.), the "All others" rate also dropped.

Here are the revised tariffs (in addition to the existing 4% tariffs) on consumer tires imported from China:

Company       Initial       Revised

Cooper Tire:  12.5%      Same

GITI:            17.69%  11.74%

Yongsheng:    81.19%   Same

All others:    15.69%  12.03%

"We will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to require a cash deposit equal to the estimated amended countervailing duty rates reflected in this notice for GITI Fujian and all-other exporters or producers," the DOC added.

A determination on Chinese antidumping duties -- a separate issue -- will be made by the DOC no later than Jan. 20, 2015.

For background information on the initial preliminary ruling on countervailing duties, check out these links:

"15.6% to 17.6% tariffs are effective immediately -- and retroactive."

"When will importers have to pay the tariff(s)?"

"2 companies exempt from retroactive tariffs."

"Chinese tire tariffs are effective Dec. 1."