Some tariff rates are changing — again!

Posted on August 6, 2015

Tariffs on passenger and light truck tires imported from China are final, but with yet another twist. The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has amended some of the rates — again — affecting more than 60 manufacturers.

And for those importers and manufacturers, the rates are increasing, albeit slightly.

Here are the changes:

In the countervailing duty investigation, only one rate is changing. Shandong Yongsheng Rubber Group Co. Ltd. (Yongsheng) will pay tariffs of 116.73%, up from the 100.77% assessed in June 2015.

In the anti-dumping duty investigation, an adjustment to the rate for Giti Tire (Fujian) Co. Ltd., trickled down to other companies, but Giti's rate is used as part of the base to determine the tariffs against other manufacturers.

Giti's rate is increasing from 29.97% to 30.74%.

As a result of the Giti adjustment, the rate for the "separate rate companies" is increasing from 25.30% to 25.84%. (See the full list of those "separate rate companies" at the bottom of this story.)

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is included in the lot of "separate rate companies." During the company's second quarter earnings call on Aug. 8, officials referred to the rate change.

Brad Hughes, chief operating officer for Cooper, called it a "relatively small" change.

The higher rates are a result of the back-and-forth petitions filed by the different parties included in the case. Those petitions allow the parties to ask questions and assert errors during the DOC's investigation. And just as it happened in this tariff case early on, those petitions have resulted in the DOC admitting it made "ministerial errors."

In both the countervailing and anti-dumping investigations, the United Steelworkers union (USW) alleged that the DOC had used incorrect numbers when calculating the tax or grant benefits Yongsheng received from the Chinese government. In the countervailing investigation Giti alleged the DOC applied incorrect numbers in its own case.

In the end, the DOC agreed with the errors identified by the USW, but not with those suggested by Giti.

Of course, the ruling on these ministerial errors confuses the tariff issue even more. These adjusted rates have yet to be published in the Federal Register, which means they're not quite official yet.

However, the Aug. 6 Federal Register does contain the official decision of the International Trade Commission, which makes the tariffs on passenger and light truck tires from China effective immediately — and for at least the next five years.

Related Topics: Brad Hughes, Chinese tariffs, DOC, ITC

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