ERJ staff report (R&PN)
Washington -- A battle is brewing in the US Office of the Trade Representative over duty-free treatment of tyre imports from Thailand.
Three tyre manufacturers--Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations llc, Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd. and Falken Tire Corp.-have petitioned the USTR for continuation of duty-free status for Thailand-made tyres under the Generalized System of Preferences. Thai imports are not a threat to US tyre production, they said, and the price increase for all imports caused by the tariffs imposed on Chinese tyres last September make it inappropriate at this time to add 4 percent to the price of Thai tires right now.
The United Steelworkers, however, said allowing continued duty-free status for Thai tyres would hurt American workers by undermining the effect of the tariffs on Chinese tyres.
â€œThese petitioners should be ashamed to seek an increase in preferential tariff treatment for an industry that manifestly does not need any preferential treatment in order to compete in the US market,â€ said the USW in its submission to USTR.
A hearing on the tyre makers' petitions is scheduled for 11 Feb at USTR headquarters in Washington.
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Tyre makers, USW fight over tyre imports from Thailand from Rubber & Plastics News (a Crain publication)