Washington – Titan International Inc. and the United Steelworkers union have filed petitions with the US International Trade Commission and the US Department of Commerce, seeking relief from imports of off-the-road tires from China, India and Sri Lanka.
Titan and the USW claim that the OTR imports from China and India are being dumped in the US market, and that importers from all three countries are benefiting from government subsidies. Titan CEO and Chairman Maurice Taylor had threatened to seek action in mid-November.
The petitions define OTR tires as those for agriculture, industry, construction, mining and industrial applications, Titan and the USW said.
In 2007, Titan and the USW filed petitions with the ITC and Commerce, requesting antidumping and countervailing duties against OTR tire imports from China. The government granted those duties the following year, and renewed them early in 2014 after a routine five-year review.
Besides the inclusion of Indian and Sri Lankan imports, the new petitions differ from the previous ones in that they include tires mounted on wheels as well as unmounted tires.
“Unfortunately, this is the second time we have had to file a case against dumped and subsidized imports of OTR tires,” said USW International President Leo Gerard in a press release.
“The first time we were successful, but Chinese producers and importers appear to be gaming the system to avoid the duties they owe,” Gerard said. “And now, subsidized producers in India and Sri Lanka have stepped in to get their own piece of the US market.”
“Too many domestic industries have been overwhelmed with unfair trade practices that capture sales of US companies,” Taylor said.
“Titan has been fighting for the last eight years to safeguard the rights of U.S. producers of certain OTR tires and their workers,” Taylor said. “This case represents a significant effort by our company to restore conditions of fair trade to the U.S. market for OTR tires.”
Titan and the USW said they expect preliminary determinations of material injury by summer 2016 and final determinations by early 2017.
According to the USW, OTR tires from China, India and Sri Lanka accounted for an estimated 41 percent of all OTR tires imported into the US in 2014. The actual number would likely be higher if mounted tires were included in the import data.
Imports from the three countries have grown significantly since 2012, even as demand in several important markets has fallen due to declining farm income and low commodity prices.
“Our union represents the majority of workers in the US OTR tire industry and today’s action is essential to protecting these jobs from further erosion,” said USW District Director Mike Millsap, who chairs the union’s negotiation committee with Titan Tire.
“Rising volumes of unfairly traded imports are driving down prices and harming domestic producers and workers. This is exactly the type of situation our trade remedy laws were designed to redress, and we are proud to use those laws to stand up for our members.”
The USW represents workers producing OTR tires at Titan International Inc., Bridgestone Americas Inc. and Goodyear at six plants in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio.