US trade commission to rule on import duty petition by end of June

Washington -- The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has 45 days, until 29 June, to reach a preliminary determination on whether the US should impose antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CV) on passenger and light truck tires from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, as sought by the United Steelworkers (USW) union. The USW filed AD and CV duty petitions 12 May with the Department of Commerce and the ITC alleging companies in these four countries are dumping products in the US at margins ranging from 33% (Vietnam) to 217% (Thailand). At stake are more than 85 million tires imported from these nations last year, valued at £4.4 billion, according to the USW petitions. 

Imports from these nations have risen nearly 20% since 2017 and in the cases of Thailand and Vietnam reflect the opening of at least half a dozen tire factories there by Chinese tire companies. According to the ITC's summary of the USW's petitions, the commission must determine whether imports of passenger car and light truck tires from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam causes material injury for the US industry.  The regulations governing such investigations deem the ITC must reach a preliminary determination of dumping within 45 days of receiving the complaint, unless the Department of Commerce extends the time.

If the ITC agrees that AD and/or CV duties are warranted, it must transmit its views to Commerce within five business, or in this case, by 7 July at the latest. Because of Covid-19-related restrictions on access to the ITC building in Washington, the commission is conducting this preliminary phase investigation through written submissions, written testimony, etc. The USW, which obtained AD and CVD orders on passenger/light truck tires from China in 2015, claims the "deluge of unfairly traded imports hurt our domestic industry and workers, including many USW members."

Since the imposition of the elevated duties on Chinese consumer tires, passenger tire imports from that country have dwindled, falling to fewer than 3 million units last year from over 50 million in 2014. Last year Thailand was the No.

1 source of imported passenger tires into the US, with 37.3 million units. South Korea was No.

2 with 17.2 million, Vietnam No.

6 with 9.95 million and Taiwan No.7 with 8.46 million. Together, that adds up to nearly 73 million units, or 47% of the 154.5 million car tires imported total. Thailand also was No.

1 on the light truck tire import table, with 7.67 million units. Vietnam was No.

4 with 2.13 million, South Korea No.

6 with 1.99 million and Taiwan No.

9 with 671,154 units. Together they total 12.5 million, or 47% of the 26.7 million light truck tires imported.

According to Tire Business' annual Global Tire Report, Chinese tire companies with off-shore production in Thailand and/or Vietnam include: o    Double Coin Holdings Ltd. -- truck and OTR tires in Thailand since 2017; o    Guizhou Tyre -- building a truck/bus tire plant in Vietnam;

o    Qingdao Sentury -- car/light truck tires in Thailand since 2015; o    Sailun Jinyu Group -- car, truck and OTR tires in Vietnam since 2013; building a JV plant with Cooper Tire in Vietnam; o    Shandong Linglong -- car/light truck tires in Thailand since 2018; building a plant in Serbia;

o    Zhongce Rubber Group -- car/LT and truck/bus tires in Thailand since 2015. At the same time, major tire makers Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G., Goodyear, Maxxis International, Group Michelin, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. also have factories in Thailand.

Among Thai-domiciled tire companies are Deestone Ltd., Hihero Co. Ltd., Otani Tire Co. Ltd., Siam Rubber Co.

Ltd. and Vee Rubber Corp.

Ltd.

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