WASHINGTON — The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has determined that antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on imports of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China — imposed in 2015 and the subject since July 2020 of a "sunset" review process — should remain in place.
After nearly seven months of investigation and deliberation, the ITC determined that revoking the existing import duties "would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time."
The ITC's decision comes 11 weeks after the U.S. Commerce Department came to the same conclusion and is tied to the U.S. government's obligation to conduct "sunset" reviews of import duties every five years because of language in the Uruguay Round Agreements Implementation Act, approved in late 1994 and to which the U.S. is a signatory.
The review process sought to determine whether revoking the antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty orders on certain passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China "would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury."
The Commission's vote was 4 to 1, with Chair Jason Kearns, Vice Chair Randolph Stayin and Commissioners Rhonda Schmidtlein and Amy Karpel voting in the affirmative. Commissioner David Johanson voted in the negative.
The antidumping duties imposed in August 2015 ranged from 14.4% to 87.9% and countervailing duties ranged from 20.7% to 100.8%, depending on manufacturer. The "China-wide" rates were 30.9% and 87.8%, respectively.
Since the imposition in August 2015 of these duties, imports of passenger tires from China have fallen nearly 95%, to 2.8 million units in 2019 from 50.4 million units in 2014, according to Commerce data. Through the first six months of 2020, they fell even further, dropping 42.2% to 905,444 units.
At the same time, though, many of China's leading tire makers shifted production to satellite factories in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc.
The United Steelworkers (USW) union, whose petitions initiated the federal government's investigation, said it "welcomes" the ITC's decision to maintain the AD and CVC orders.
"For too long, domestic tire makers have been forced to grapple with Chinese efforts to undercut their products and undermine their jobs," USW International President Tom Conway said. "It's essential that we continue holding bad actors to account, even as we take strategic, long-term steps to fix our broken trade system."
Kevin Johnsen, who chairs the USW's Rubber & Plastics Industry Conference, added: "As our country seeks to regain its economic footing in the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, it's more important now than ever that American companies and workers can compete on a level playing field.
"These orders will help ensure they can focus on what they do best: making tires."