ITC drops China OTR tire imports probe
WASHINGTON (Feb. 19, 2016) — The International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided not to continue the investigation of Chinese off-the-road (OTR) tires but will continue with its probe against OTR tire imports from Sri Lanka and India.
The agency met early this morning, voting 6-0 against further consideration of both countervailing and anti-dumping duties against the imports from China. Conversely, the ITC voted 6-0 in the affirmative to continue the investigation of OTR tires from Sri Lanka and India.
This means the probe against China is officially over but the investigation of the other two countries' OTR tire imports will continue.
The commission said it is currently scheduled to complete and file its determinations on Feb. 24, and the views of the agency are currently scheduled to be completed and filed on March 2.
The vote was in response to a petition filed by Titan International Inc. and the United Steelworkers (USW) union seeking antidumping and countervailing duties against mounted and unmounted OTR tires from the three Asian countries. The company and union had claimed that from 2012-15 the three countries had increased their market share from 35.5 to 44 percent, and Titan alleged OTR tires from India were underselling Titan by as much as 70 percent.
Also today, a preliminary anti-dumping and countervailing hearing on truck and bus tires imported from China began almost immediately after the ITC vote on OTR tires.
In a petition seeking action on truck and bus tires, the USW claims that China undersold U.S. producers of those tires at margins averaging from 57.38 to 62.25 percent during the investigation period of 2012-2014.
Meanwhile, during that same time, U.S. demand for truck/bus tires rose by 1.8 million tires, or 8.45 percent, the USW said, but imports from China grew by one-third, or 2.1 million tires.
For reactions from the USW and Titan and others on today's ITC preliminary vote on OTR tire imports from China, India and Sri Lanka, keep checking back to www.tirebusiness.com.
“As a result,” the union said, “domestic producers saw their shipments decline by 800,000 tires, or 7.48 percent, and they participated in none of the demand growth over the period.”
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.
As for the OTR tire issue, importers of OTR tires from China, India and Sri Lanka have claimed that a petition from Titan and the USW for import duties is a gross misinterpretation of the facts, saying a cyclical downturn in the original equipment OTR market — not increased imports from Asia — is responsible for Titan's reduced OTR tire sales.
Additionally, they've contended that lower raw materials costs — not increased imports — caused the decline in OTR tire prices in the U.S., according to testimony presented at a preliminary hearing at the ITC in Washington Jan. 29.
Titan and the USW petitioned the ITC Jan. 8 for anti-dumping and countervailing duties against mounted OTR tire imports from China, and both mounted and unmounted tires from India and Sri Lanka.
In 2007, Titan and the USW petitioned the ITC for duties against unmounted Chinese OTR tires, and won their case the following year.
The situation is exactly the same now as then, according to Titan and the union. Rising imports of the tires named in their new petition have seized market share and are driving down prices, production and employment in a declining market, they claim.
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