Washington – By a 3-2 vote, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has determined the domestic truck and bus tire industry has not suffered material injury because of Chinese imports.
The ITC vote means that the US Department of Commerce will not order US Customs and Border Protection to collect antidumping and countervailing duties from Chinese truck and bus tire manufacturers and importers.
ITC Vice Chairman David B. Johanson and Commissioners Meredith M. Broadbent and F. Scott Kieff voted against a finding of material injury, whereas Chairman Rhonda K. Schmidtlein and Commissioner Irving A. Williamson voted in the affirmative. Commissioner Dean A. Pinkert did not participate in the vote.
The United Steelworkers (USW) union petitioned the ITC in January 2016, requesting antidumping and countervailing duty relief protection from Chinese truck and bus tire imports under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act.
The ITC made a preliminary determination of material injury in March 2016, and the Commerce Department issued final antidumping duties against Chinese tire makers ranging from 9% to 22.57% on 23 Jan.
On the same day, Commerce levied final countervailing duties ranging from 38.61% to 65.46%. On 14 Feb, after reviewing its calculations, the agency lowered the countervailing duties against Double Coin Holdings Ltd. to 20.98% from 38.61%. The duties against Guizhou Tyre Co. Ltd. were lowered slightly, to 63.34% from 65.46%.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., which manufactures all its truck and bus tires in China, applauded the decision.
“Cooper supports free and fair trade, and we are pleased with the ITC’s determination,” the tire maker said.
Walter Weller, senior vice president, strategic accounts at China Manufacturers Alliance LLC (CMA), also said he was pleased with the ITC’s decision. CMA is a wholly owned subsidiary of China's Double Coin Holdings Ltd. and the US distributor of Double Coin tires.
“Anybody considering all the facts, including the record profits for American manufacturers and their inability to even come close to satisfying domestic truck and bus tire demand, would have to conclude that this was the right thing to do,” Weller said.
USW International president Leo W. Gerard condemned the decision.
“The ITC commissioners made a huge mistake,” Gerard said in a press release. “While the Department of Commerce identified subsidies of up to more than 60% and dumping of up to almost 23%, the ITC failed to support relief for the injured workers.
“That simply ignores the facts and the harm that Chinese unfairly traded exports have caused the workers,” he said.
Other recent USW petitions to the ITC met with more success.
In July 2015, the ITC voted 3-3 to find that Chinese passenger and light truck tire imports were causing material injury to the US passenger and light truck tire industry. Commerce assessed countervailing duties ranging from 20.73% to 100.77%, and antidumping duties of 14.35% to 87.99%.
On 3 Feb, the ITC voted 5-0 to find that Indian and Sri Lankan off-the-road tire imports were causing material injury to the US OTR tire industry.
The USW and Titan Tire Corp. were the petitioners. Countervailing duties levied in that case ranged from 2.18% to 5.38%. No antidumping duties were levied.
The ITC’s report on the Chinese truck and bus tire investigation will be posted online by 15 March.
China is by far the largest source of truck and bus tires imported into the US, accounting for nearly 55% of the 13.9 million truck tires imported into the US last year and nearly 60% of the 14.4 million imported in 2015.