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  January 13th, 2016 | Written by

Company, Union Join on Petition Against Tire Imports

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  • United Steelworkers joined Titan International petitions alleging unfairly traded tire imports.
  • Petitions allege dumping by China and India and that tire imports from three countries are being subsidized.
  • USW president: “This is the second time we have had to file a case against dumped and subsidized imports of OTR tires."

The United Steelworkers (USW) union has joined with Titan International, Inc. in filing petitions for relief from imports of off-the-road (OTR) tires produced in China, India and Sri Lanka.

The petitions allege that imports from China and India are being dumped in the U.S. market in violation of international trade agreements and imports from all three countries are benefitting from improper government subsidies.

The allegations, filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), assert that, as a result, the imports are causing material injury to the domestic OTR industry and its workers.

“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 W. Gerard. “The first time we were successful, but Chinese producers and importers appear to be gaming the system to avoid the duties they owe.

Subsidized producers in India and Sri Lanka have stepped in to get their own piece of the U.S. market, according to Gerard. “This is a glaring example of what’s wrong with our nation’s trade laws,” he added. “This circumvention and intentional abuse of trade laws is destroying jobs here in America. We filed these petitions to correct these harmful practices and restore fair trade to the market.”

The petitions cover OTR tires for agriculture, industry, construction, mining and industrial applications. They cover OTR Tires whether they enter the United States mounted on wheels or unmounted. The inclusion of mounted tires distinguishes these petitions from ones filed by Titan in 2007 on OTR tires from China.

Unmounted OTR tires from China are already covered by antidumping and countervailing duty orders that resulted from the earlier case. Mounted tires from China are not, however, subject to those duties.

In 2014, OTR tires from China, India and Sri Lanka accounted for an estimated 41 percent of all OTR tires imported into the United States. 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 U.S. 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.”

If the USITC and the DOC reach affirmative preliminary determinations, imports will be subject to bonding requirements to cover final dumping and subsidization amounts.  These anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties will counter the ill effects of practices that are banned by trade agreements. Preliminary determinations are likely by summer and final determinations will likely follow by early 2017.

The USW represents workers producing OTR tires at Titan International, Inc., Bridgestone, and Goodyear at six plants in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio.