WASHINGTON (Oct. 17, 2002 — The International Trade Commission's vote to levy high tariffs against steel wire rod imported from seven countries will hurt U.S. tire manufacturers who need that rod for tire cord, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
On Oct. 2, the ITC voted to slap duties as high as 369 percent on imports of tire-cord-quality steel wire rod from Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Ukraine and Moldova. Countervailing duties—designed to balance subsidies that industries receive from their home governments—were levied against Canada and Brazil, while all seven countries will have to pay antidumping duties designed to counteract sales in the U.S. at less than fair value.
The commission voted 5-0 to levy tariffs on six of the countries, and 4-1 on Trinidad and Tobago. It voted 4-1 to exempt German wire rod from the tariffs, and it also voted to exempt one of the three grades of wire rod.
At the behest of U.S. steel wire rod producers, the ITC placed temporary tariff quotas on imported rod in 2000, the RMA said in an Oct. 17 press release. In anticipation of the lifting of these quotas in March 2003, domestic producers filed antidumping and countervailing duty cases against wire rod producers from 12 countries, the association added.
"Tire-cord-quality steel wire rod simply isn't produced in this country in the quantities we need," said Ann Wilson, RMA senior vice president, government affairs. "We would love to get our supplies domestically, but we import it because we need it." The exemption for Germany was "important" but inadequate to protect U.S. tire makers from significant increases in manufacturing costs, she added.
There is no appeal of an ITC antidumping or countervailing duty decision, Ms. Wilson said.