Akron, Ohio — Chinese tire companies and their marketers in the US have expressed dismay at the recent decision by the US Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on Chinese tires imported to the country, saying that American consumers would be the biggest losers of the policy.
Giti Tire, which was given a duty of 17.69 percent — two points higher than the general duty — said it believes these preliminary duties “do not reflect its actual circumstance” and that it intends to seek clarification from Commerce on its calculation and will continue to work throughout the preliminary period to ensure that its actual circumstance is properly reflected in the department’s calculation.
Giti, which earlier this year committed $560 million (€449 million) to build a plant in South Carolina, stressed that it has a “long-term commitment to the US market, its customers, the American consumer and its American workforce.” Giti Tire is the Rancho Cucamonga, California-based subsidiary of Singapore-based Giti Tire Group, which produces tires in China and Indonesia.
Miami-based Sentury Tire, a subsidiary of Qingdao Sentury Tire Co. Ltd, said the decision “hasn’t dampened Sentury’s… commitment to its US distributors and dealers” and that it is “committed to delivering high quality tires at an affordable price” despite the duties, according to Director of Sales Maxwell Wee.
He said the firm feels this action penalises tire customers who have come to depend on Sentury’s brands and pledged that Sentury Tire would “do all that’s humanly possible to maintain a programme that works for our tire distributors and dealers.”
Houston-based Horizon Tire, whose China-sourced brands include Aoteli, Antares, Crosswind, Herovic and Sotera, said the big loser in this action will be US consumers who can least afford the upcoming price increases on tires sold in the US, Chinese or otherwise.
“The tariff end result will only prove to be a ‘de facto’ tax increase to US consumers,” Horizon said.
The importer/wholesaler said it believes pricing levels ultimately will revert to the pre-tariff tier levels 1, 2 and 3 as the US market adjusts pricing to include products sourced from all over the world. The company said it is confident its sales will not decrease in the coming year and could even improve as many brokers and distributors turn to suppliers that are committed to being in the US market.
Omni United, whose portfolio includes the Corsa, Goodride and Radar brands, said the “quantum of the [duties] surprised us, but we are still trying to understand its full implication in the short, medium and long term,” according to Scott Rhodes, vice president of sales.
Rhodes noted it is difficult to make business plans at this time because of the still outstanding issue of antidumping duties.
He said Omni United is “committed to continuing to serve our customers in the best and least disruptive way. As a company we have diverse geographical manufacturing in place to combat geo-political risks and we will not be making any changes in our business model at this time.”