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Published on September 28, 2009

Letters: Tariffs on Chinese tire imports denounced

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Opinion

Now the waiting is over and we know an extra 35-percent tariff on Chinese tires will be coming.

What does it mean? As I see it, here are the negatives:

About 100,000 jobs will be lost in China. FAST. Maybe more later.

U.S. jobs for truckers who would have hauled the 47 million Chinese-made tires will be lost, except for what may be replaced with much higher-cost tires. At even 50 percent, and an average of 600 pieces per 40-foot load, that comes out to 39,000-plus truckloads.

U.S. jobs for tire changers to fit the tires on motorists' vehicles will be lost. Jobs for those who sold the tires, for the customs brokers who filed the paperwork—all lost.

Many small, and some large, U.S. companies will fail as they have nothing to sell to their clients who need low-priced tires they can afford. A conservative guess on lost jobs could be from 25,000 to a lot more.

The U.S. loses the 4-percent duty on 47 million tires. If that averages $40 per tire, then the loss is $75 million.

I have not heard a peep from ANY U.S. tire maker that is happy about this decision or is planning to add to its U.S. work force.

There's a good chance that the low-cost tire buyers I mentioned are the nation's poorer citizens who need the deals the most. They now will wait longer to buy more expensive tires, making it possible that they'll drive on less-safe tires. Thus, these tariffs could easily result in an increase in accidents and death. I put that at the feet of the unions that started this fiasco.

Consumer prices will no doubt go up—and the U.S. will pay the bill.

This action by President Barack Obama can and most likely will be the start of a huge trade war. A good Hollywood screen writer could make a case for this to be what started "World War LAST."

Now, the positive (sort of)…

President Obama has kissed the unions' feet.

Now get a scale and weigh the pluses and minuses.

Don Mathis

President

International tire sales and consulting

DM Marketing L.L.C.

Bland, Mo.

* * *

This decision to impose tariffs on passenger and light truck tires imported from China will cost thousands more Americans their jobs.

We will not see one single job brought back to the U.S.

What it really boils down to is that the only people who will benefit from this are a small percentage of union workers. And that, I believe, will ultimately come from the pocket of all American consumers in the form of higher tire prices.

Truck tires are next. I am sure the unions are drafting something as I write this.

Dean Barnhart

General manager

Interstate Tire Distributor Inc.

Los Angeles

* * *

I am the U.S. representative for SD International Co., a Chinese-owned company.

The win by the United Steelworkers union and supported by President Obama has supposedly saved jobs for union workers.

However, for the roughly 200,000 tire salespeople in the U.S., it will cost tens of thousands of lost jobs, as tire dealers will be cutting back their sales forces because they won't be selling as many tires.

Independents such as I who sell Chinese-built tires to U.S. tire dealers will be severely affected and may lose their source of income entirely. I do not know whom to bill for my lost income—the United Steelworkers union or President Obama.

I'll bet the taxpayers' money the U.S. government spent to bail out large corporations—which then used the money for everything but what it was intended for—will be available to the people whom President Obama has just put out of work.

I hope you print this and every tire sales rep and tire salesperson in the U.S. reads it and writes to their congressman and sends copies to President Obama to com¬plain.

James Carpenter

Marketing manager, North America

SD International Co.

Fountain Hills, Ariz.

* * *

I appreciate the comments of tire industry analyst Saul Ludwig that the U.S. tariffs on Chinese passenger and light truck tire imports will be a "positive" for the domestic tire industry, though I think the part he isn't taking into consideration is the sizable backorder situations that are developing for tire dealers.

When the economy went south, all the tire manufacturers cut production—which was to be expected. For a short few months, independent tire dealers got nearly a 100-percent fill rate every time we ordered. That was nice.

However, for orders made this month with various manufacturers, the back orders have been as high as 40 percent. Frustrating! We aren't talking about China production here, either.

I understand keeping costs in line, but it is frustrating to have to stock so many brands just to keep enough inventory to satisfy the customer demand for replacement tires on a greatly expanded range of sizes that are on the vehicles that come into our stores today.

Add the tariff situation to that, and I question how positive this whole thing is.

Ed Miller

President

Ed's Tire Factory Inc.

Medford, Ore.

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