Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and a group of 30 senators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, supporting the Department’s decision to initiate investigations into Chinese tire imports and urging them to act to restore fair trade conditions. The investigations are in response to petitions filed by the United Steelworkers (USW), on behalf of U.S. tire workers, who allege that Chinese tire companies are illegally subsidizing the manufacture of tires and dumping them on the U.S. market, undercutting U.S. tire producers and workers.
“America’s laws against unfair trade are a critical underpinning of our economic policies and economic prosperity,” the Senators wrote. “Given the chance, American workers can out-compete anyone. But, in the face of China’s continual targeting of our manufacturing base, we need to make sure that we act quickly and enforce our laws.”
In addition to Casey, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (WI), Mark Begich (AK), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Cory Booker (NJ), Sherrod Brown (OH), Chris Coons (DE), Joe Donnelly (IN), Dick Durbin (IL), Al Franken (MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Tom Harkin (IA), Kay Hagan (NC), Tim Kaine (VA), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Mary Landrieu (LA), Carl Levin (MI), Joe Manchin (WV), Ed Markey (MA), Bob Menendez (NJ), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Chris Murphy (CT), Mark Pryor (AR), Jack Reed (RI), Bernie Sanders (VT), Chuck Schumer (NY), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Mark Warner (VA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI).
Since anti-dumping duties ended in 2012, tire imports from China have roughly doubled – increasing from 24.5 million tires in 2011 to 50.8 million in 2013. The Steelworkers’ petitions allege that China is dumping tires into the U.S. market that are as much as 88% below fair market value. The petitions also identify 39 separate, unfair subsidies available to tire producers in China.
Following the filing of the petition in June, the International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 6-0 in July to investigate anti-dumping and countervailing duties against China. The ITC and the Department of Commerce will make final determinations on the case by early next year. If evidence of material injury is found, Commerce will issue an anti-dumping duty order to offset the dumping, or a countervailing duty order to offset the subsidy.
The text of the letter is below:
Dear Madame Secretary:
We are writing in strong support of the Department’s decision to initiate antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China.
As you well know, China has targeted the passenger vehicle and light truck tire sector for development and there are several hundred tire manufacturing facilities now operating in that country. In 2009, the United Steelworkers (USW) filed a Section 421 petition seeking relief from a flood of similar tires from China that were injuring our producers and their workers. That petition was successful and the relief that was provided helped to restore market conditions. Employment stabilized and companies producing here invested billions of dollars in new plant and equipment.
Unfortunately, shortly after relief expired, imports of these tires from China once again skyrocketed. Since the Section 421 relief ended in 2012, imports from China have roughly doubled. In response, on June 3, 2014, the United Steelworkers (USW) filed petitions with the Department alleging dumping and subsidies. The Steelworkers’ petitions identified dumping margins as high as 87.99 percent and provided sufficient information for the Department to initiate an investigation on 39 separate subsidies available to tire producers in China. Our laws need to be fairly and faithfully enforced to ensure that workers – our constituents – can be confident that, when they work hard and play by the rules, their government will stand by their side to fight foreign predatory trade practices. Thousands of workers across the country are employed in this sector, making the best tires available.
America’s laws against unfair trade are a critical underpinning of our economic policies and economic prosperity. Given the chance, American workers can out-compete anyone. But, in the face of China’s continual targeting of our manufacturing base, we need to make sure that we act quickly and enforce our laws. That is what we are asking and urge you and your Department carefully analyze the facts and act to restore fair conditions for trade.
Senator Bob Casey