As a result, the nation's tire-related trade deficit shrank 6.8% to $9.6 billion compared to 2017. This is the second straight year the deficit has shrunk.
China retained the title as the US' largest trading partner in tires as the value of its overall exports to the US jumped 21.8% over 2017 to $2.37 billion.
China's increase came largely from higher shipments of medium truck, OTR, farm and other non-highway tires, including record shipments of truck/bus tires of 9.22 million units, a 42.1% jump over 2017.
The value of truck/bus tire imports from China increased 56.2% to $1.11 billion.
By contrast, imports of passenger and light truck tires from China — which are subject to elevated US import duties — fell 19.9 and 14.1%, respectively, from 2017.
Imports of truck tires from China are expected to fall off markedly this year after the US government imposed elevated antidumping and countervailing duties on the products earlier in the year.
Thailand is a strong No. 2 with tire imports into the US valued at $2.23 billion last year, up 20% over 2017. Canada ($1.58 billion), South Korea ($1.3 billion) and Japan ($1.17 billion) rank third through fifth. Mexico, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Germany complete the top 10.