By Denna Bowman
A trade ruling calling for extra duties to be placed on tyres imported to the US from China will hurt small businesses and consumers, according to a coalition against the restrictions.
The American Coalition for Free Trade in Tyres, which represents six tyre importers and marketers was dismayed by the decision taken by the US International Trace Commission (ITC) earlier this week to call for duties on Chinese tyres.
The ITC voted 4-2 in favour of charging additional tariffs on passenger car and light commercial vehicle tyres in response to a petition from the United Steelworkers union which claims that the imports from China are damaging the domestic industry.
However, Marguerite Trossevin, a lawyer representing the coalition, said: “…imposing these draconian restrictions on tyre imports is far more likely to cause a disruption in the market than to provide any remedy to the US industry.
“This is the type of misguided protectionism that President Obama has fought against in other contexts and we hope he will do so again this time.”
Denis King, vice president of Dunlap and Kyle Co, added: “The duties proposed by the commission are so high that it will drive up prices to the point that U.S. consumers won’t have access to affordable tyre.
“Eventually, we will have to find other sources for inexpensive tires, but it won’t be here in the United States because they don’t make them.”
While Larry Lavigne, vice president of operations and general counsel for Foreign Tyre Sales in Union, NJ, said: “This is a very disappointing outcome, it’s a net loss for the United States.
“This would hurt so many small businesses across the country without producing any benefit. Small businesses are simply getting squeezed out by a politically powerful labour union that is jockeying for position in ongoing contract negotiations with the US producers.”
President Obama has until 17th September to determine what action to take on the issue.