WASHINGTON—The International Trade Commission (ITC) has a July 18 deadline to make a preliminary determination on whether antidumping and countervailing duties are justified against passenger and light truck tires imported from China.
The ITC must then transmit its findings to the Commerce Department by July 25, according to a June 9 Federal Register notice. Commerce may extend the deadline if the ITC requests more time, the notice said.
If the ITC finds in the affirmative, Commerce will begin its own preliminary investigation. If Commerce finds evidence of material injury to the U.S. tire industry, a full investigation will begin. The United Steelworkers (USW) union filed petitions with Commerce and the ITC June 3 requesting antidumping and countervailing duties against Chinese passenger and light truck tire imports under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act.
Five years ago, the USW filed a petition for relief under Section 421 of the Trade Act, which specifically addresses U.S. industries injured by massive increases in Chinese imports. President Barack Obama signed an order in September 2009 approving three years of elevated tariffs against Chinese passenger and light truck tires.
These amounted to 39 percent the first year, 34 percent the second and 29 percent the third before reverting to 4 percent in September 2012. In its petitions, the USW noted that Chinese tire imports have more than doubled since the Section 421 ended—from 24.6 million in 2011 to 50.8 million in 2013.
The union claimed to have found dumping margins for Chinese tires as high as 92 percent, as well as 41 different subsidy programs the Chinese government offers to its domestic tire makers.