As for KOTMA itself, the Seoul, South Korea-based trade group said its member companies have started to establish countermeasures, such as selecting consulting companies for accounting and legal advice.
KOTMA also is trying to seek ways of assisting the member companies through having related meetings with them and sharing related information with the government.
Joe Kao, operations manager at Federal Tire North America, said: "We don't believe there is a high risk for us as our export numbers didn't surge, and our average pricing has been going up. Besides, there's no government subsidy, so countervailing should not be applicable. We are confident and hopeful and will be going through the standard filing process."
Richard Kuskin, president of tire importer/wholesale distributor Foreign Tire Sales Inc., said there currently are only two areas in the world with sufficient manufacturing capacity to meet the demand for tires in the U.S. — China and Southeast Asia.
Mr. Kuskin — whose company represents Thai tire maker Otani Tire Co. Ltd. — said depending on the scale of import duties imposed (50% or higher, for example), the action could open the door for some Chinese companies to reconsider supplying the U.S.
This new action by the USW is "escalating the cat-and-mouse game" between the world's major tire producers and the more cost-effective — but "quality varied" Chinese brands — to a whole new level, according to Mike Cheng, head of TBB Tires, the U.S. subsidiary of China's Jiangsu General Science Technology Co. Ltd., which recently opened a plant in Thailand.
Mr. Cheng acknowledged that tire supply also is considered a strategic issue that can't be left solely in the hands of foreign entities, as the recent crisis on personal protection equipment demonstrated.
"The question is, 'What's next?' We have literately run out of countries that are either stable enough to invest in and to operate a tire factory efficiently."
TBB Tires' answer consists of three things, he said: quality, service and price.
A tariff, despite how much elevated, ultimately will end up as one thing, cost, he noted. "Every customer wants the lowest price but the highest in everything else. Most companies see price as the only factor of business because it's what everyone complains the most."
In addition, Tire Industry Association CEO Roy Littlefield said: "The United Steelworkers petition … reflects how tire manufacturing has grown and evolved in these countries in recent years, with the addition of numerous factories from Chinese tire makers and others.
"The union, in seeking antidumping and countervailing duties, is looking to preserve tire manufacturing jobs in the U.S., while tire retailers have found success selling products imported from these countries. It's not surprising, therefore, to see this action taken by the USW."
Among companies contacted by Tire Business that declined to comment were:
American Omni Trading Co.; Kenda Tire USA Inc.; Kumho Tire USA Inc.; Tire Brands America; Nexen Tire Corp.; and the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association.
In addition, at least four companies have notified the ITC of their intention to participate in the investigation process: Atturo Tire Corp.; Bridgestone Americas Inc.; ITG-Voma Corp.; and Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.