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Value of U.S. retreading up 35% from 2009 to "11

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WASHINGTON—The value of retreaded tires produced in the U.S. grew 35 percent during the 2009-2011 period, according to a report issued recently by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which based its findings on dollar values and did not provide unit or tonnage production data.

The ITC report, “Remanufactured Goods: An Overview of the U.S. and Global Industries, Markets and Trade,” put the value of the U.S. retreading business at $1.4 billion in 2011, up from about $1 billion in 2009.

The report identified 680 facilities in the business of retreading truck tires, along with 18 producing OTR retreads, five making aircraft retreads and four making passenger retreads. Roughly 90 percent of these plants came under the umbrella of the “Big Three” retread technology companies—Goodyear, Bridgestone Americas (Bandag) and Michelin North America Inc.—the report states.

Annual investment in the retread industry increased by about 20 percent during the period, to $24 million in 2011 from $20 million in 2009.

“Industry consolidation has reportedly spurred larger investments in U.S. retreading operations,” the ITC said, without providing further details.

Employment in tire retreading increased commensurately with investment, growing to 4,900 in 2011 from 3,900 in 2009.

The Big Three—along with Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. and Marangoni Tread North America—continued to expand their networks of licensed retread plants despite a shortage of casings in 2011, the ITC said.

The U.S. is a small net exporter of retreads, generating $18.5 million in sales abroad in 2011 vs. $11.4 million in imports, the ITC report shows.

The value of retread exports did increase notably from 2009 to 2011, to $18.5 million from $15.9 million, according to the report, which again did not provide unit or tonnage data. Canada and Mexico consumed about 36 percent of retread exports, it said. Other countries that bought U.S. retreads included Vietnam, the European Union (EU), South Africa and Guatemala.

The value of retreads imported into the U.S. in 2011 was 90 percent greater than in 2009 but accounted for less than 1 percent of total tire imports to the U.S., the ITC said. Canada was the source for most of the retreads imported, it said.

On a global basis, the value of retreads by the countries studied jumped to $253 million in 2011 from $187 million in 2009, with the EU accounting for nearly half the total, the report said. Russia was the biggest importer of retreads, consuming about 12 percent of the total, it said.

Global exports of tire casings stood at about $383.5 million in 2011, up 27 percent from 2009, the report said. Japan and the EU between them accounted for more than two-thirds of casing exports. The U.S. was the biggest importer of casings, consuming about 15 percent of the total.

Retreads took up 17 pages of a 284-page ITC report, dated October 2012.

In June 2011, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk asked the ITC to investigate the size and scope of the remanufactured goods industry in the U.S., including domestic markets, U.S. exports and factors affecting sales, trade and investment.

The ITC held a hearing in Washington Feb. 28 on the remanufactured goods issue.

Marvin Bozarth, senior technical consultant for the Tire Industry Association (TIA), and David Stevens, managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB), testified on the retread industry at that hearing.
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