PITTSBURGH, May 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) union today announced that it filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions on dumped and subsidized passenger vehicle and light truck (PVLT) tires with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission.
The petitions allege dumping margins as high as 195 percent for Korea, 147 percent for Taiwan, 217 percent for Thailand, and 33 percent for Vietnam. The petitions also detail numerous government subsidies benefitting Vietnamese tire producers, including loans, tax breaks, and grants.
PVLT tire imports from these four countries shot up nearly 20 percent from 2017 to 2019, reaching 85.3 million tires, valued at $4.4 billion dollars, last year.
"This deluge of unfairly traded imports hurt our domestic industry and workers, including many USW members," said USW International President Tom Conway. "Even though demand for PVLT tires increased, domestic producers were still forced to grapple with reduced market share, falling profits and lost jobs."
The USW obtained AD and CVD orders on PVLT tires from China in 2015, and Chinese imports have since shrunk dramatically, allowing the domestic industry to invest in new capacity in the United States.
Yet importers soon sought out new sources of unfairly traded goods. Chinese producers, desperate for continued access to the attractive U.S. market, also invested in facilities in Korea and Thailand in order to export PVLT tires without paying AD or CVD duties.
"Slowing Chinese imports was vitally important to saving the domestic tire industry," said Kevin Johnsen, who chairs the USW's Rubber and Plastics Industry Conference. "But Chinese producers found a way around our safeguards, and other bad actors are eager to take advantage of U.S. demand."
The USW's petition is also the first petition to contain a currency undervaluation subsidy under new rules the Department of Commerce issued earlier this year. It alleges that the Vietnamese government's systematic undervaluation of the Vietnamese dong in relation to the U.S. dollar constitutes a countervailable subsidy.
"The USW has long sounded the alarm on the dangers of currency manipulation and its impact on trade," said Conway. "Now, under the Commerce Department's new rules, we must address it for what it is: an illegal subsidy."
The Covid-19 crisis is putting even more pressure on domestic producers, increasing the stakes of addressing unfair trade, Conway said.
"The only thing domestic producers should be worrying about right now is how to restart their operations safely," said Conway. "Yet even as they face falling demand in the wake of this deadly disease, they're still struggling with unfairly traded imports that have continued largely unabated. Our only chance to preserve thousands of good, family-sustaining jobs is to stem this tide."
The USW is the largest North American union in tire manufacturing, representing workers at the following U.S. PVLT tire plants: Cooper Tire's plants in Findlay, Ohio and Texarkana, Ark.; Goodyear's plants in Fayetteville, N.C., Gadsden, Ala., and Topeka, Kan.; Michelin's plants in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Sumitomo's plant in Tonawanda, N.Y.; and Yokohama's plant in Salem, Va.
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.