Quincy, Illinois – Titan International Inc. is threatening to sue importers of OTR tire/wheel assemblies for fraud if it can be determined they are avoiding paying import duties on the tires and/or wheels they import as mounted assemblies.
Titan’s latest threat of action against importers of OTR tires comes a week after the US Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission (ITC) initiated anti-dumping and/or countervailing duties investigations against certain OTR tires from China, India and Sri Lanka in response to petitions from Titan International and the United Steelworkers.
The ITC is scheduled to disclose its preliminary determination on duties on 19 Feb and transmit its decision to Commerce on 22 Feb. If the ITC’s determination is affirmative, Commerce will make a preliminary determination on countervailing duties on or about 8 April, and on antidumping duties on or about 22 June.
If the ITC makes a negative determination, the investigation will be terminated.
Titan CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. applauded the agencies’ initial finding, calling it the “first step in this battle.
“When you look at the minimum and maximum range, it tells you how bad the American farm tire industry has been hurt,” he said, referring to the estimated dumping margins cited in the ITC’s findings of 10.77 to 76.45 percent for imports from India and from 11.2 to 77.69 percent for imports from China.
“The American farmer has also been harmed because the OEMs didn’t pass anything along and neither did the importer,” he added, criticizing some of Titan’s own customers in doing so.
“Titan and the USW have teamed up again to take on the foreign producers who are violating US law,” he said. “The importers that keep trying to undermine American suppliers cause great damage to working men and women of America. Presidential candidate (Donald) Trump has stated many times how these countries keep lowering our middle class. There are only a few manufacturers of farm tires left in America.”
Bridgestone Americas Inc., Mitas Tires North America Inc. and Specialty Tires of America Inc. – the other US-based agricultural tire makers – have not commented publicly on the Titan-USW petition.
In his statement, Taylor noted that there already are duties on Chinese tire manufacturers, but when a tire is mounted on a wheel, it’s no longer classified a tire.
“The joke about this is that there is a duty on steel now, but by assembling the steel wheel with the tire, there is no duty on the assembly. As Trump would say, ‘This is stupid.’ I agree, but in order to level the playing field, Titan and the USW must file petitions with the DOC and USITC.”
According to a fact sheet put out by the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, however, the value of imported tire/wheel assemblies from China fell nearly 99 percent in 2014 from 2013 to just $6.19 million (€6.2 million). The value of assemblies from India and Sri Lanka also fell in 2014 from 2013 by 11.4 and 18.9 percent, respectively, the data show, to $167.3 million and $76.8 million.
The fact sheet does not offer data on the size of the U.S. market for these products.
“It's funny because the major OEMs who make equipment think this is OK,” Taylor continued, “but they don't say a word about China paying four times the price of a bushel of corn to Chinese farms while, at the same time, blocking corn from U.S. farmers. Global companies in America forget they are American. It’s funny they try to be so worldly.
“They might find out that they would do better being proud that they are American, but they can’t show that,” he added. “Well, there are going to be a lot of surprised corporate CEOs with what happens this election because Americans are fed up with good jobs being lost to foreign companies who are allowed to cheat the system with help of their government.
“Titan has won this battle before and we will win this one also.”
Regarding Titan’s threat of legal action, Taylor said: “We have also asked our lawyers to look at various federal laws to see if there are any grounds to seek civil relief against any importers for fraud regarding the tire/wheel assemblies to avoid duties.”