Titan, US union file petition against off-road tyres from China, India & Sri Lanka

Titan International has filed petitions with the US International Trade Commission and the US Department of Commerce for relief from imports of off-road tyres from China, India, and Sri Lanka. The petitions were filed jointly with the United Steelworkers union and allege that imports from China and India are being dumped in the US market in violation of international trade agreements and that imports from all three countries are benefitting from improper government subsidies.

“In 2007 Titan won antidumping and countervailing duties on OTR tyres from China, but over the past few years there have been a number of companies putting wheels into the tyres to get around the duties,” stated Maurice Taylor, CEO and chairman of Titan International. “This has become a large problem because some overseas operators have actually advertised on their websites how to beat duties. So our petitions address tyres from China which enter mounted on a wheel or rim. We have also added India and Sri Lanka to this new action. We believe we have strong cases and look forward to the US government conducting investigations. We urge our government to move expeditiously to investigate the unfair trade practices alleged.

“It is easy to understand why the middle class has decreased and manufacturing has been decreasing during the last 20 years, added Taylor. “Too many domestic industries have been overwhelmed with unfair trade practices that capture sales of US companies, depressed prices, reduced profitability and inability to maintain facilities and jobs. Titan has been fighting for the last eight years to safeguard the rights of US producers of certain OTR tyres and their workers to conditions of fair trade. Too many other companies have not been able to do so.”

The petitions cover off-road tyres for agricultural, industrial, construction, and mining applications. They cover OTR tyres whether they enter the United States mounted on wheels or unmounted, though only the tyre is covered. The inclusion of mounted tyres distinguishes these petitions from ones filed by Titan in 2007 on OTR tyres from China. Unmounted OTR tyres from China are already covered by antidumping and countervailing duty orders that resulted from the earlier case, though entries of mounted tyres from China are not currently subject to those duties.

“Unfortunately, this is the second time we have had to file a case against dumped and subsidised imports of OTR tyres,” said USW International president Leo W. Gerard. “The first time we were successful, but Chinese producers and importers appear to be gaming the system to avoid the duties they owe. And now, subsidised producers in India and Sri Lanka have stepped in to get their own piece of the US market. This is a glaring example of what’s wrong with our nation’s trade laws. This circumvention and intentional abuse of trade laws is destroying jobs here in America. We filed these petitions to correct these harmful practices and restore fair trade to the market.”

In 2014, imports from China, India, and Sri Lanka accounted for an estimated 41 per cent of all such imports from the world, though the actual number is likely higher due to the inclusion of mounted tyres not broken out in the import data. Imports from the three countries have grown significantly since 2012, even as demand in key end use segments has fallen due to declining farm income and low commodity prices.

“This case represents a significant effort by our company to restore conditions of fair trade to the US market for OTR tyres,” stated Maurice Taylor. “We are hopeful that a thorough investigation will show the merits of our case and result in meaningful relief for the domestic industry.”

If the Commission and the Commerce Department reach affirmative preliminary determinations, imports become subject to additional bonding requirements to cover dumping or subsidisation amounts finally determined. These anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties will counter the ill effects of practices that are banned by trade agreements; if orders issue at the end of the investigations, cash deposits equal to the level of dumping or subsidisation are required on imports after the publication of the order. Preliminary determinations are likely by summer and final determinations due in early 2017 at the latest.

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