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Firestone to end latex production in Liberia

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HARBEL, Liberia (Aug. 19, 2014) — Firestone Natural Rubber Co., a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corp., will cease producing liquid latex at its Liberian plantation in the fourth quarter of 2014 and concentrate solely on the production of block rubber, the company said.

“This change will allow the company to utilize its entire output for the manufacture of tires and other rubber products,” Firestone Natural Rubber said in a statement issued Aug. 14.

With the discontinuation of latex production, Firestone Natural Rubber also will close its latex terminals in Baltimore, Md., and Savannah, Ga., by the end of the fourth quarter, it said.

The company also said it is working with its latex customers to assure a smooth transition as they seek alternate sources of supply.

Approximately 200 workers, mostly in Liberia, will be affected by the end of latex production at the Firestone plantation, the company said. Because of employee attrition and reassignment, actual layoffs will be minimal, it said.

Firestone officials could not be reached for further comment.

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Titan International and the United Steelworkers union have petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce seeking relief from OTR tire imports from China, India and Sri Lanka. What’s your opinion?

I wholeheartedly support their action – something needs to be done.
46%
(36 votes)
I think it’s a bad idea that could inevitably tie the hands of domestic tire makers.
13%
(10 votes)
I oppose any duties against tire importers—they only raise costs for distributors and make it harder to obtain inventory.
24%
(19 votes)
I’m kind of on the fence and not sure what’s right, but need more information before deciding.
14%
(11 votes)
I don’t really care whether or not relief is granted.
3%
(2 votes)
Total votes: 78