WASHINGTON — Sept. 17 is the next major milestone in the antidumping and countervailing duty investigation against certain passenger and light truck tire imports from China, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, although the final determination of duties — if so ordered — won't be until mid-January.
On that date, Commerce is scheduled to make its preliminary determination on the amount of subsidies the Chinese government gives to Chinese tire makers, the agency said.
A final determination on subsidies is due from Commerce Dec. 1, the same day the agency is scheduled to make a preliminary determination on dumping margins — i.e. the percentages below which Chinese tire makers may be undercutting the prices of U.S. tire manufacturers.
If Commerce makes affirmative findings in both cases, the International Trade Commission will make a final determination Jan. 15, 2015, on whether the U.S. tire industry is being materially injured by Chinese imports. If the ITC finds material injury, it will issue a countervailing duty order Jan. 22, 2015.
In the case of antidumping duties, the ITC will make a final determination on material injury March 31, 2015, and issue antidumping duty orders April 7, 2015.
The United Steelworkers union petitioned the ITC for relief June 3 under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act, asking for antidumping and countervailing duties against Chinese tire imports. Commerce decided to initiate an investigation July 15, and the ITC voted 6-0 to continue the investigation.
Commerce found preliminary dumping margins of 45.8 to 87.99 percent from Chinese tires, as well as subsidy rates above de minimis (2 percent).
The ITC found that imports comprised 47 percent of the value of the U.S. consumer tire market in 2013, or $10.5 billion of a total market of $22.3 billion.
Chinese imports accounted for $2.3 billion, or nearly 22 percent, of the import total, with Canada, South Korea and Japan also major importers.
The ITC's figures differ slighly from data published by Commerce. Those data show the value of the combined passenger/light truck tire imports last year at $9.83 billion, with China accounting for $2.09 billion.
In an analysis accompanying its July 15 decision to initiate the investigation, Commerce said it found dumping margins on Chinese tire imports ranging from 45.8 to 87.99 percent and subsidy rates “above de minimis.”
De minimis, according to the agency, is a subsidy of less than 1 percent for developed countries and less than 2 percent for developing countries.
The ITC, in its analysis, found there are nine tire manufacturers in the U.S., operating factories in 14 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia — with a combined employment of approximately 29,000.