CHICAGO — Titan International Inc. and the United Steelworkers (USW) are calling for restrictions on downstream products made from Russian petroleum inputs, citing in particular concerns over imports of off-the-road (OTR) tires from India.
According to Titan President and CEO Paul Reitz, imports of OTR tires from India increased by close to 38% in 2022 over 2021, and India is among nations that have not banned imports of Russian oil products, including the production of the by-product, carbon black, which is a key ingredient the production of OTR tries.
"It is vital to our industry that we intensify our efforts to bring light to and close loopholes in the issued sanctions to Russia," Reitz said.
Titan and the USW are making their position clear in a letter sent to the White House, urging President Biden "to take action to ensure that downstream products made in third countries from Russian petroleum products – such as OTR tires from India – are also subject to import restrictions."
Titan goes on to state that it and its USW-represented workers have experienced in the past "the injury that unfair foreign trade practices cause to domestic producers and workers," a struggle that continues today as Titan is defending antidumping and countervailing duty orders on OTR tires from India that were imposed in 2017.
"In the last year," Reitz said, "we have faced a new threat from Indian producers: their ability to leverage access to cheap, sanctioned Russian petroleum products to drive down tire prices and propel injurious exports to the United States."
A country that is able to access plentiful supplies of low-priced oil will have a significant advantage in the market for OTR tires, Titan claims in the letter.
According to Titan, Russia accounts for a quarter of India's total oil imports, amounting to over a million barrels a day, making Russia India's No. 1 source of oil.
Titan goes on to state that Indian exports of OTR tires to the U.S. jumped nearly 38% since March 2022 — when the U.S. ban on Russia oil was imposed — over 2021.
"For all of these reasons, we respectfully request that your administration consider imposing import restrictions on downstream products made in third countries with Russian petroleum inputs," Reitz wrote in the letter.
"These restrictions will help level the playing field for domestic producers of such products and their workers, such as Titan and the USW. More importantly, such restrictions will strengthen the integrity of existing sanctions on Russia and ensure the U.S. does not become an unwitting target for oil-dependent foreign goods made in countries that refuse to join the United States in banning Russian oil exports."
The International Trade Commission (ITC) has scheduled a meeting March 2 in Washington to consider its review of antidumping and countervailing duties imposed in 2017 on imports of certain off-the-road (OTR) tires from India to determine whether the duties should be continued.
The duties under review were the result of petitions from Titan Tire Corp. and the United Steelworkers (USW) union, requesting relief under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act. The duties imposed, though, were considered relatively insignificant — antidumping of 3.67% industrywide and countervailing duties of 4.72% to 5.36% on specific companies.
According to Commerce Department figures, India was the No. 1 source of imported agricultural tires and construction/industrial tires in 2021.