MADISON, Tenn. — Retread Instead, an adhoc initiative of the U.S. retreading industry, is launching a campaign to raise awareness among U.S. senators about the negative effects of low-quality, low-priced Chinese truck tires on the industry, the economy and the environment.
The initiative is calling on all U.S. retreaders and other industry players to write their U.S. senators and urge them to support efforts to impose elevated import duties on Chinese truck and bus tire imports, according to Ron Elliott, marketing and communications manager for Marangoni Tread N.A. Inc. and a spokesperson for Retread Instead.
The initiative has posted a sample "Dear Senator…" letter on the Retread Instead website for interested parties to use.
The initiative hopes to educate and inform all of the U.S. senators of several key points, including:
- The urgency of making sure that the U.S. International Trade Commission has a full complement of commissioners at all times to ensure fair and balanced determinations.
- That 60,000-plus U.S. jobs in retreading and related industries are threatened by the importation of non-retreadable truck/bus tires from China that are being sold at "below fair market value."
- That an increase in the number of non-retreadable truck tires is resulting in a marked rise in the number of used tires being sent to landfills each year.
- That the retreading and repair of high-quality truck/bus tires can conserve natural resources by reducing by millions of pounds a year the amount of raw materials that otherwise would be needed to make new tires.
The initiative also noted that the United Steelworkers union (USW) has filed an appeal challenging the ITC's decision not to impose tariffs, and backed that up in November with a reply before the U.S. Court of International Trade.
At the same time, the industry is concerned that only four of the six commissioner seats on the ITC are filled and two of those are serving terms that are past the original term of their appointment.
One nominee — Jason Kearns, chief international trade counsel for the Democratic staff to the U.S. House's Committee on Ways and Means — has been confirmed and two others in are in the approval process.
China-sourced truck/bus tires represented more than half of the 13.9 million truck tires imported in 2016 and accounted for roughly 42 percent of U.S. replacement market truck/bus tire shipments.
The average declared customs value of a Chinese truck tire in 2016 was $102.84, less than three-fourths that of the overall average and less than half the value of tires imported from more developed countries.
Marangoni previously stated that the increased number of "low quality" Chinese truck tires sold in the U.S. has led to a drop in U.S. retreading output of about 4 million units.
In May, Marangoni launched a petition drive to spur the Trump administration to reconsider the Commerce Department's decision to not impose duties on imports of truck tires from China. That drive resulted in only a few hundred signatures, however, far short of the 100,000 needed to trigger a response by the White House.