PITTSBURGH — The United Steelworkers (USW) union has filed an antidumping petition on medium truck and bus tires from Thailand with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission.
According to the USW, truck and bus tire imports from Thailand, fueled by Chinese investments, have more than doubled in the past three years.
Overall, imports of medium truck/bus tires shot up 38% last year to a record 23.9 million units. Thailand led the sector with 10.2 million units, up 44.6% over 2021.
Its shipments are more than three times the number of No. 2 Vietnam and account for nearly 43% of all imports, according to Tire Business analysis of the available import/export data.
A large percentage of truck/bus tires imported from Thailand are from subsidiaries of Chinese tire makers such as Double Coin, Jiangsu General Science Technology, Shandong Linglong, Prinx Chengshan, Sentury Group and ZC Rubber.
This year, however, imports of medium truck/bus tires have plateaued and fallen, dropping 25% through the first half of the year, to 8.43 million units, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. Shipments from Thailand fell 12.8%.
The average value (declared customs value) of an imported truck/bus tire increased 5.3% last year over 2021 to $170.83. By contrast, the value of a truck/bus tire from Thailand actually declined slightly, 0.1% to $132.45.
The petition alleges dumping margins as high as 47.8%, enabling imports to undercut domestic producers and imperil U.S. jobs, the USW said.
"Antidumping and countervailing duties on truck and bus tires imposed in 2019 have been essential in stemming the tide of unfairly traded tires from China," USW International President David McCall said.
"Now, we're seeing Chinese companies invest in their Thai operations, once again capturing market share and depressing prices."
The USW represents workers at five facilities that produce truck and bus tires: Bridgestone Americas Inc.'s plants in La Vergne and Morrison, Tenn., Goodyear facilities in Danville, Va., and Topeka, Kan., and Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.'s plant in Buffalo, N.Y.
Kevin Johnsen, who chairs the USW's Rubber and Plastics Industry Conference, said U.S. workers "can compete with anyone as long as they have a level playing field. We cannot allow illegally dumped imports to destroy their jobs or the communities they support."
The USW has been involved in more than 100 trade cases in the past two decades, including in the rubber and tire industry.
"While we're grateful that workers have the standing to advocate on their own behalf as we did today, we shouldn't have to wage this fight on a case-by-case basis," McCall said. "Instead we need strategic reform of our broken trade system so that our domestic industries can be safe from unfair trade now and into the future."