PITTSBURGH — The United Steelworkers (USW) union is applauding the U.S. Commerce Department's decision to initiate an investigation of Vietnam's currency manipulation as an illegal subsidy on passenger and light truck (P/LT) tires, as part of its investigation into "unfairly traded" P/LT tire imports from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The USW filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions against Taiwan and the three Asian countries on May 13. The CVD petition included allegations that imports from Vietnam benefit from the Vietnamese government's "systematic undervaluation" of the dong in relation to the U.S. dollar.
The Commerce Department issued new rules earlier this year that allowed currency undervaluation to be considered as an illegal subsidy, the USW said.
"U.S. workers have for too long borne the brunt of a broken trade system," USW International President Tom Conway said.
"When a country like Vietnam artificially suppresses its currency for the purpose of propping up its own industry, we need to treat that like we would any other illegal subsidy. …
"We need swift and decisive action," Mr. Conway said. "Thousands of community-supporting domestic jobs depend on it."
The USW also noted that Commerce is supporting its AD petitions against Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The International Trade Commission (ITC) is expected to vote on preliminary determinations in that case on July 14.
The USW represents over 11,000 workers at eight consumer tire factories in the U.S. operated by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (Findlay, Ohio, and Texarkana, Ark.); Goodyear (Fayetteville, N.C., and Topeka, Kan.); Michelin North America Inc. (Fort Wayne, Ind., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.); Sumitomo Rubber North America (Tonawanda, N.Y.); and Yokohama Tire Corp. (Salem, Va.)
Combined these factories represent about 46 million units of annual P/LT tire capacity.