For all the talk and action that has occurred as a result of the current administration's focus on deregulation and tax cuts — and there's no doubt they have had a positive effect on business — it is remarkable how much government continues to shape the success or failure of certain businesses.
In the Sept. 10 issue of Tire Business alone, we offer three stories that discuss the latest developments in how government continues to affect the tire and wheel industries.
The one topic that promises to having a lasting impact for the automotive aftermarket industry is the renegotiated agreement that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As of this writing, the U.S. and Mexico had come to terms on what President Trump called "one of the biggest trade deals ever."
While many stakeholders are cautiously optimistic about the deal, they also are adamant that Canada must be included in any renegotiated trade pact to preserve and advance free trade throughout North America. That is an important element for all industries, especially the tire industry.
Meanwhile the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has opened preliminary antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into certain steel trailer wheels from China, in response to a petition by Elkhart-Ind.-based Dexstar Wheel Co. Ltd.
Dexstar, one of only two remaining U.S. manufacturers of these wheels, alleges Chinese makers are dumping products at rates ranging from 30.48 to 44.35 percent. Dexstar General Manager Ray Oglesby told the ITC his company can't compete, even in a bull market, and thus can't retain workers.
Others disagree. Tim Miller, president of Lionshead Specialty Tire & Wheel L.L.C. in Goshen, Ind., told the ITC an expected increase in U.S. demand for steel trailer wheels cannot be met by U.S. and third-country (non-Chinese) producers, and thus duties should not be imposed.
In another wheel-related case, the U.S. Department of Commerce has ruled preliminarily that countervailing duties ranging from 48.75 to 172.51 percent should be levied on imports of certain steel truck wheels from China that are being subsidized.
Accuride Corp. of Evansville, Ind., and Maxion Wheels Akron L.L.C. of Akron made the initial complaint.
And we haven't even mentioned the duties on Chinese goods, including tires and other industry-related products, that continue to draw attention both here and abroad.
We applaud the U.S. businesses and executives who speak about these issues. We encourage others to follow suit.
If your dealership is being helped — or hindered — by policies, don't stand pat and complain. Get involved. Call your Congressmen. Take action.
The government needs to hear from you.