COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 19, 2014) — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to reconsider the countervailing duty it imposed on Giti Tire USA Ltd., saying Giti's duty rate — which is 2 percentage points higher than the general duty — “inequitably affects Giti's business.”
Ms. Haley is intervening on Giti's behalf because Giti has committed to invest $560 million in South Carolina over the coming years to build a passenger tire plant in Chester County.
“If this error is not corrected quickly, it will hurt Giti's competitive position with their extremely cost-sensitive domestic customer based,” Ms. Haley wrote.
“I urge Commerce to quickly resolve this issue before it inequitably affects Giti's business as they build their new facility in our state.”
She did not specify what she thinks the rate should be; the rate imposed Dec. 1 on all Chinese tire makers except three was 15.69 percent on top of the prevailing 4-percent rate.
Chaney Adams, Ms. Haley's press secretary, added: “Governor Haley has always said we have to take care of our businesses and workers. Giti is a company that will take care of a lot of our families, and so when she became aware of the tariff situation, it was important to her to contact the Obama administration directly.”
In her letter, Ms. Haley noted Giti's project represents as many as 1,700 new jobs for South Carolina.
Earlier Giti Tire said it believes these preliminary duties “do not reflect its actual circumstance” and that it intended to seek clarification from Commerce on its calculation and work throughout the preliminary period to ensure that its actual circumstance is properly reflected in the department's calculation.
Giti recently closed on buying the property for the plant and is planning to break ground early next year.
Giti Tire is the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based subsidiary of Singapore-based Giti Tire Group, which produces tires in China and Indonesia