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ITC Keeps Tariff Orders on China OTR Imports

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The unanimous affirmative vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission to keep existing orders on China’s imports of OTR tires helped to provide job security for hundreds of tire workers who make these same products in the U.S., the United Steelworkers said.

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Leo W. Gerard, USW international president, said the organization recognizes that Chinese tire producers benefit from unfair subsidies. He said the relief from these subsidized imports is necessary to even out the field for the domestic tire industry and the workers.

The ITC’s action comes under the five-year sunset review process required by international law on Monday. USW and Titan Tire Corp. jointly filed the original case in June 2007. In the review, the U.S. Commerce Dept. found that subsidization is likely to continue or recur.

According to Stewart and Stewart, the USW’s Washington trade counsel, the Commerce Deptartment also revised one of the foreign producer’s rates significantly upward, from 14% to 35%, based on an administrative review that revealed this producer was benefitting from additional subsidy programs not included in the original investigation.

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The USW represents 70% of the domestic OTR tiremakers with workers employed at Titan production plants employing about 1,355 workers in Des Moines, Iowa; Freeport, Ill.; and Bryan, Ohio. Additionally, the USW represents 4,215 workers who make OTR tires at Bridgestone-Firestone in Des Moines and Bloomington, Ill.; and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Topeka, Kan. and Buffalo, N.Y.

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