WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commerce Department has affirmed the imposition of elevated antidumping duties on consumer tires from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, albeit with a few revisions to the preliminary duties issued earlier.
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 at that time from 13.25% to as high as 98.44%.
Commerce's decision — which finds that passenger vehicle and light truck tires from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam "are being, or are likely to be, sold in the U.S. at less than fair value" — sets the stage for a potentially rancorous hearing May 25, conducted by the International Trade Commission (ITC), which must rule on Commerce's decision.
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.
In its determination, Commerce altered the antidumping rates on a number of companies, lowering some and raising others. Among the changes are:
- In South Korea, the rate for Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. dropped to 27.05% from 38.07%, while that for Nexen Tire Corp. increased slightly to 14.72% from 14.24%. The "all others" rate dropped to 21.74% from 27.81%.
- In Taiwan, the rate for Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co. Ltd. dropped to 20.04% from 33.33%, which already was a revision from the original preliminary rate of 52.42%. The rate for Nankang Rubber Industry Co. Ltd. was raised to 101.84% from 98.44%. The "all others" rate slipped slightly to 84.75% from 88.82%
- In Thailand, Commerce raised the rated for Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd. to 14.62%, from 13.25%. The rate for LLIT (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (Linglong) was trimmed slightly to 21.09%, from 22.21%. The "all others" rate was raised slightly to 17.08% from 16.66%.
- In Vietnam, the rates were unchanged: the Vietnam-wide rate stayed at 22.30% and the rate for other named companies — 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. — remains at 0%.
Tire makers in Vietnam have to contend with countervailing duties of between 6.23% and 10.08%.
The May 25 hearing will allow all affected parties to present their cases for mitigation or enforcement. The hearing will be held virtually.
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, Commerce then will impose all of the dumping and countervailing orders; however if the ITC commissioners 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.
After Commerce voted in December in favor of continuing the investigation, it directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of passenger and light truck tires from the targeted lands.
Since then, the agency has issued a handful of revisions, but the basic rates haven't changed measurably.