WASHINGTON — At least 10 categories of tires, rubber, rubber products and rubber processing machinery are on the list issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) of goods imported from China that are subject to a 25-percent tariff.
The USTR issued the list on its website in response to the order President Trump signed March 22, encompassing Chinese goods worth an estimated $50 billion.
The proposed list encompasses approximately 1,200 separate tariff lines as defined under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), USTR said in a notice pending publication in the Federal Register as of April 4.
Tire-related goods on the list are as follows:
- 40061000: "Camel-back" strips of unvulcanized rubber for retreading rubber tires;
- 40113000: New pneumatic tires, of rubber, of a kind used on aircraft;
- 40121300: Retreaded pneumatic tires, of rubber, of a kind used on aircraft;
- 40121980: Retreaded pneumatic tires (non-radials), of rubber, not otherwise specified or included.
Rubber-related goods include:
- 40091200: Tubes, pipes and hoses of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber, not reinforced or combined with other materials nesoi, with fittings;
- 40094200: Tubes, pipes and hoses of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber, reinforced or combined with other materials nesoi, with fittings;
- 40101100: Conveyor belts or belting of vulcanized rubber, reinforced only with metal;
- 40169915: Caps, lids, seals, stoppers and other closures, of noncellular vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber;
- 84659200: Planing, milling or molding (by cutting) machines for working wood, cork, bone, hard rubber, hard plastics or similar hard materials; and
- 84659300: Grinding, sanding or polishing machines for working wood, cork, bone, hard rubber, hard plastics or similar hard materials.
According to the USTR notice, the administration chose to levy tariffs against all these products because of various unfair Chinese trade practices.
"The Chinese government reportedly uses a variety of tools, including opaque and discretionary administrative approval processes, joint venture requirements, foreign equity limitations, procurements, and other mechanisms to regulate or intervene in U.S. companies' operations in China, in order to require or pressure the transfer of technologies and intellectual property by Chinese companies," the notice said.
The Chinese government also follows practices and policies that deprive U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based licensing terms with Chinese companies, it said.
USTR has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed tariffs May 15 at the headquarters of the U.S. International Trade Commission, according to the notice. Interested parties have until April 23 to file requests to appear at the hearing and May 11 to submit written comments.
The agency strongly prefers electronic submissions made through the federal e-rulemaking portal, regulations.gov. The docket number is USTR-2015-005, USTR said.
Organizations such as the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau and the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Tire Industry Association said it would not take a stand on the tariffs, because of the divergent opinions of its retreader and commercial tire dealer members.
China retaliated against the U.S. with its own list of U.S. goods facing 15- and 25-percent tariffs. The goods encompassed fruits, nuts, wine, pork products, steel products and aluminum scraps, but nothing directly tire- or rubber-related.