By NuclearVacuum [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

By NuclearVacuum [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

The International Trade Commission is looking into whether it should impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties, or tariffs, on truck and bus tires made in China.

The investigation was initiated by a Jan. 29 petition from the United Steelworkers Union, according to a report in HDT sister publication Modern Tire Dealer. The petition cites import data from the International Trade Commission pointing to an increase of more than 650,000 tires imported in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

As the petition notes, "the volume of subject imports from China is significant by any measure.

"From 2012 to 2014, the U.S. imported from 6.3 million to 8.4 million truck and bus tires a year from China, valued at close to over a billion dollars each year. China exported more tires to the U.S. than all other countries combined throughout the period."

In the latest Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue, published in January 2016, MTD estimated U.S. truck tire imports from China for 2015 at 9.4 million, up 14.6% from the previous year.

The petition covers all truck and bus tires with a “TR,” “MH” or “HC” suffix, as well as all tires listed in the “Truck-Bus” section of the Tire and Rim Association Year Book.

The truck and bus petition includes tires whether or not they’re mounted on wheels. The only truck or bus tires excluded from the petition are recycled and retreaded tires, and non-pneumatic tires, such as solid rubber tires.

Unless the U.S. Department of Commerce issues an extension, by March 14, the ITC must reach a preliminary determination of whether tires were dumped and if manufacturers and importers received incentives to flood the U.S. market. Then, the ITC is required to forward its determination to the DOC within five days, or by March 21.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 19.

Bob Ulrich, editor of Modern Tire Dealer, notes that retreaders generally support such tariffs, because many new tires coming in from China are priced less than a retreaded truck tire. 

The USW is asking the ITC to gather and compare prices on four sizes of tires:
11R22.5 (14 or 16 plies, load range G or H, any speed rating)
11R24.5 (14 or 16 plies, load range G or H, any speed rating)
295/75R22.5 (14 plies, load range G, any speed rating)
285/75R24.5 (14 plies, load range G, any speed rating)

In its petition, the USW says it represents workers at truck and bus tire production facilities in the U.S. Those plants are operated by Bridgestone Americas Inc. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Additional truck and bus tires are produced by non-union workforces for Continental Tire the Americas in Mount Vernon, Ill., General/Yokohama in Mount Vernon, Ill., and Michelin North America Inc. in Spartanburg, S.C.

The truck tire investigation began just weeks after the USW initiated an investigation on off-the-road tires made in China, India and Sri Lanka. The USW successfully appealed for tariffs on passenger tires from China, and those tariffs were put in place in 2015.