WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commerce Department will soon disclose its "final" decision on the pending imposition of elevated import duties on consumer tires from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Commerce has been studying the situation since late December, when it issued its preliminary determination to impose anti-dumping import duties on passenger and light truck tires shipped from the four Asian lands, ranging from 13.25% (Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd.) to as high as 98.44% (Nankang Rubber Tire Corp. Ltd., Taiwan).
With that decision, Commerce directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to start collecting cash deposits from importers of passenger and light truck tires from these three nations and Taiwan based on the preliminary rates noted here.
Since then, the agency has issued a handful of revisions, but the basic rates haven't changed measurably.
At last report, the rates were:
- South Korea: Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. — 38.07%; Nexen Tire Corp. — 14.14%; all others (including Kumho Tire Co. Inc.) — 27.81%
- Taiwan: Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd. — 33.3% (revised from the higher rate initially imposed); Nankang Rubber Tire Corp. Ltd.— 98.44%; all others — 84.33% (revised from the higher rate initially imposed);
- Thailand: LLIT Thailand Co. Ltd. — 22.21%; Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd. — 13.25%; all others — 16.66%.
- Vietnam: countrywide entity — 22.30%. Excluded are: Sailun Vietnam Co. Ltd.; Kenda Rubber (Vietnam) Co. Ltd.; Bridgestone Tire Manufacturing Vietnam L.L.C.; Kumho Tire (Vietnam) Co. Ltd.; and Yokohama Tyre Vietnam Co. Ltd.
Tire makers in Vietnam also have to contend with countervailing duties of between 6.23% and 10.08%.
If Commerce — as most industry observers felt was likely — approves the duties it issued earlier on a preliminary basis, it will then be up to the International Trade Commission (ITC) to review Commerce's decision and make a final determination as to whether the duties are justified as proposed.
To that end, the ITC has scheduled a hearing for May 25, to be held virtually, to allow all affected parties to present their cases for mitigation or enforcement.
The investigation into these imports stems from petitions filed in May 2020 by the United Steelworkers, which argued such imports were injuring the domestic tire industry.
After the hearing, the ITC commissioners will then weigh the evidence and testimony and vote on whether to approve Commerce's determination. They have until June 23 to reach a final decision on the investigation.
If the ITC votes in the affirmative on all four cases, then Commerce will impose all of the dumping and countervailing orders; however if the Commission were to vote in the negative on all four, then the case would end and cash deposits held by Commerce would be forfeited back to the respondent countries.
Additionally, the ITC conceptually could vote affirmative on some of the countries and negative on others.