MADISON, Tenn. — A retreading industry advocacy group is calling on the U.S. Senate to expedite confirmation hearings for nominees for vacant seats on the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which could be called upon to reconsider the China truck tire import duties case that was voted down last year.
The group, under the Retread Instead collective identity, is urging fellow industry participants to join in the effort by bringing the matter to their respective U.S. Senators' attention and has drafted a sample letter for interested parties to use.
These initiatives came out of meeting, held recently at Marangoni Tread N.A. Inc.'s headquarter in Madison, with representatives of Premier Rubber Co. Tech International, McGriff Tire, Cross Dillon Tire, Pomp's Tire Service and Accella Corp. attending.
The meeting representatives focused on ways to ensure that a full complement of ITC commissioners is seated well in advance of a possible ruling by U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) on the appeal filed by the United Steelworkers Union (USW) last September of the ITC's negative determination in the China truck tire dumping case.
The USW is asking the CIT to reverse and remand the ITC's negative determination in February on import duties on truck and bus tires sourced from China.
That ruling, however, was swayed by the absence of one commissioner who earlier had ruled in favor of the duties.
"With the group's collective resources, contacts and willingness to spread the word, we should see tens of thousands of letters going out to our U.S. Senators very soon," Ron Elliott, Marangoni North America's marketing and communications manager and Retread Instead spokesperson, said.
"We cannot stop there and are calling on all of our industry brothers and sisters to take a stand and show their support by sending letters now."
The campaign's main goal, Mr. Elliott said, is to educate and inform all U.S. Senators of the urgency of making sure that the ITC has a full complement of commissioners to ensure "fair and balanced" determinations.
In the draft letter, Retread Instead points out the economic and environmental consequences it believes result from the importation of "low-quality truck tires from China that can't be retreaded and are sold at below fair market value...."
The letter stresses that more than 100,000 U.S. jobs in the retreading and related industries are in jeopardy and that most of these tires end up "unnecessarily" in the nation's landfills.
The group noted that while one of the vacant ITC seats has now been filled — a swearing-in for Democrat Jason Kearns is set for April 2 — three other nominees are awaiting hearings for the two remaining open seats.
For the record, the ITC comprises six commissioners nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. No more than three commissioners may be of any one political party. The commissioners serve overlapping terms of nine years each, with a new term beginning every 18 months.
The current commissioners are: Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, chairman; David S. Johanson, vice chairman; Irving A. Williamson; and Meredith M. Broadbent.