WASHINGTON (Aug. 31, 2009)—California tire retailer ATV Inc. has added its voice to those urging the Obama administration to not impose tariffs on imports of Chinese consumer tires.
ATV—which does business as American Tire Depot—said in a written filing with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) that it would be forced to lay off up to 20 percent of its work force of 150 should the U.S. impose the tariffs suggested by the International Trade Commission.
ATV said in its letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk that it is “searching for alternative sources for tires in the event that the U.S. imposes tariffs or quotas on Chinese tires; however, the company is not searching for additional supply from U.S. manufacturers.”
Even if ATV is able to locate an alternative source of supply, the dealership said it would be forced to lay off 5 to 10 percent of its work force.
Duarte, Calif.-based ATV operates 31 American Tire Depot outlets in Southern California and sources 80 percent of its tires from China.
ATV's position is supported by another comment, filed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), an association representing retailers.
“…(I)mposing the ITC's recommended tariffs is clearly not in the public interest,” RILA Vice President Stephanie Lester said in a letter to Mr. Kirk. “The cost to public safety and to consumers already having difficulty making ends meet is immeasurably greater than any benefit to a single industry or its workers.”
Ms. Lester told the USTR the unavailability of lower-priced tires in the U.S. market would undermine highway safety. RILA members report a 31-percent increase in disclaimers issued by tire dealers to motorists who refuse their advice to replace their tires, she said. Also, requests to mount used tires have risen 43 percent.
“This means people are buying used tires instead of new ones,” she said.