“The Chinese do not compete significantly in Tier 1, and the U.S. does not compete significantly in Tier 3,” Mr. Durling said.
Mr. Durling is an attorney with Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle L.L.P. in Washington, D.C.
The USW discounted tiers in its testimony. The ITC itself did as much in the 2009 hearings leading up to the Section 421 tariffs, Mr. Stewart said.
“The ITC found no clear dividing line between alleged ‘tiers' in the market, and no agreement as to what the tiers were,” he said. The agency found Chinese-made tires to be highly interchangeable with U.S.-made ones, he said.
Chinese imports also are having an adverse impact on U.S. tire prices, according to Mr. Stewart. The USW has found current dumping margins to be as high as 92 percent, and also uncovered more than 40 government subsidies available to Chinese tire makers, including 12 directly encouraging exports to other countries, he said.
Mr. Stewart's testimony was supplemented by that of union local presidents who said they are seeing the effects of Chinese imports in their workplaces.
Michelin North America Inc. laid off 100 workers at its plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in October 2013 — an action directly attributable to unfair competition from the Chinese, according to Mark Williams, president of USW Union Local 351L which organizes the Tuscaloosa plant.
“When President Obama imposed safeguard duties on Chinese tires in 2009, it led to a lot of optimism at our plant,” Mr. Williams said. At that time, plant management made plans to augment equipment and staff at the factory to boost production to 18,500 tires per day from 12,000, he said.
Daily production at Tuscaloosa stood at 16,500 tires in early 2012, but began declining in mid-2012, just before the tariffs ended, according to Mr. Williams.
“After the layoffs we fell to 9,500 tires a day as we worked off excess inventory,” he said. “We have now crept back up to 12,000 tires a day, but that is still less than 75 percent of what we produced when the safeguard was in place.