By JoAnne Powers - February 12, 2016:
The United Steel Workers has filed a new trade case against China seeking relief from what they say are illegal Chinese trade practices in the truck and bus tire industry. The USW says Chinese tires are flooding the U.S. market, washing away good family supporting American jobs. Stan Johnson is International Secretary-Treasurer of the United Steel Workers and head of the Rubber and Plastics Industry Conference for the union:
[Stan Johnson]: “We’re losing really great-paying community and family supportive jobs, and it’s devastating to the individuals affected, certainly, it’s devastating to the communities affected, it’s devastating to the tax base. It’s really an absurdity that has to come to an end. They have been flooding the market and capturing basically all of the upside of the market over the last four years, so, it was time that we had to step up on behalf of not only the workers that we represent, but all workers in the U.S. that work in the truck-bus radial market.
At issue is the dumping of millions of truck and bus tires into the U.S. market below-cost:
[Stan Johnson]: "What they're doing is subsidizing their own industries for export. So they're, in essence, selling at less than the cost of production into our market - which is illegal under trade policies. Over the years it's cost a lot of jobs, both in the tire industry, the paper industry, the steel industry." “I mean, this is not a problem that exists only within the truck-bus radial market.
The USW has also been challenging dumping in other tire markets, with a preliminary hearing January 29th on an off-road tire case in which they assert that China is not the only guilty party:
[Stan Johnson]: “…there’s a belief that the Chinese have been using mounted tires as a way to escape duties on tires. In other words, mounting them on a wheel and calling it an assembly and therefore evading the duties. So this was filed against China for the mounted tires, and against India and against Sri Lanka, both who participate heavily in the agriculture and construction tire markets.”
The USW wants strong action to prevent further harm to the U.S. manufacturing base. While applying duties to these tires is a short-term fix, Johnson says Chinese subsidizing and dumping of products across multiple sectors is a long-term problem.
[Stan Johnson]: "The Chinese economy was built upon export and they have tremendous over-capacity - particularly now that the Chinese economy has slowed down to some degree. So they're flooding all of their excesses into the world market and primarily into the U.S. market because the U.S. market is the largest consumer market in the world."