The USW contends in its petition that U.S. and Chinese truck and bus tires are essentially interchangeable, offered along the same array of sizes and products including steer, drive, trailer and all-position tires.
All types of truck and bus tires share common production facilities, production processes and employees, according to the petition. Customers and producers alike perceive all truck and bus tires as similar products, and they are offered along a continuum of prices, it said.
The USW represents the workers at five of the eight truck and bus manufacturing facilities in the U.S. — Bridgestone Americas in LaVergne and Waren County, Tenn.; Goodyear in Danville, Va., and Topekas, Kan.; and Sumitomo Rubber North America in Buffalo, N.Y. — encompassing approximately 6,000 workers and nearly two-thirds percent of daily domestic truck and bus tire manufacturing capacity.
Quoting the ITC's own figures, the USW said China exported 6.7 million truck and bus tires to the U.S. in 2014 with a customs value of $817.6 million. This compared with 6.3 million tires worth $1.03 billion imported to the U.S. during all of 2012, it said.
“From 2012 to 2014, the U.S. imported from 6.3 [million] to 8.4 million truck and bus tires a year from China, valued at close to or over a billion dollars each year,” the petition said. “China imported more tires to the U.S. than all other countries combined throughout the period.”
The wide array of government subsidies available to Chinese truck and bus tire manufacturers dovetails with the Chinese government's “Tire Industry Policy” that encourages radial tire development in China and encourages the adoption of new tire technologies, according to the petition.
Also, the announced expansions of tire production in China will only exacerbate existing overcapacity in that country, it said.
“Based on the information reasonably available to the petitioner and presented in these petitions, truck and bus tires from China are being dumped in the U.S. market, they benefit from considerable subsidies, and they are causing and threatening to cause injury to the domestic truck and bus tire industry,” the USW concluded.
Truck and bus tire manufacturers and importers — including Goodyear, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., and Giti Tire (USA) Ltd. — either declined direct comment on the petition or said any comment was premature.
“As a global company with operations in all regions, Goodyear is a proponent of free and fair trade across the globe,” a Goodyear spokesman said.
In prepared remarks issued to accompany the USW's Jan. 29 petition, USW International President Leo Gerard said, “Once again we are taking action to stop the unfair trade practices of China from damaging our members' good jobs and the U.S. manufacturing base. In a period of strong demand, American industry has seen all the growth in demand go offshore, with China being the biggest problem.