The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is scheduled to hold a public hearing at its headquarters Aug. 7 on the International Trade Commission's (ITC) recommendation for stiff duties on imported Chinese passenger and light truck tires.
On June 18, the ITC voted 4-2 that an upsurge in Chinese tire imports is causing market disruption in the U.S. tire industry. On June 29, the majority voted to recommend three years of duties on Chinese tires under Section 421 of the Trade Act. The dutiesif President Obama chooses to approve themwould be 55 percent the first year, 45 percent the second and 35 percent the third.
The USTR hearing would be the final event in the investigation before President Obama's Sept. 17 deadline to rule on the ITC recommendation. If approved, the duties would go into effect Oct. 2.
The United Steelworkers (USW) union, which petitioned the ITC for relief under Section 421, is a staunch supporter of the proposed tariffs. Our nation's job loss numbers at tire factories dramatically understate the impact China's flooding imports have caused in the communities where our represented workers live, wrote Leo W. Gerard, USW International president, in a letter to the USTR requesting to testify at the hearing.
Tire dealers and distributors also are likely to appear at the hearing. At a June 2 hearing before the ITC, several dealers and distributors testified that Chinese tire imports don't compete directly with the tires currently manufactured in the U.S., and that punitive action against the Chinese would result only in shortages of low-cost tires in the U.S.
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