Chinese Tyres Industry Accuse the US of Trade Protectionism

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By Oliver Hall

Chinese tyres makers and exporters are fighting back against their US rivals battle to stop their products flooding the Amercian home market.

The Chinese tyres industry leaders said the case is discriminative and accused the US tyres companies of using a trade protectionism tool.

Last month the United Steelworkers union (USW), which represents 15,000 American tyre factory workers from 13 plants, filed a petition with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to reduce imports of tyres from China by more than half to 21 million, the level of 2005.

The USW claim that the Chinese producers are benefiting from the subsidies granted by the Chinese government and consequently forcing a decline in the domestic tyre industry.

The US purchased 46 million tyres from China in 2008, valued at $1.7 billion, said the USW, which also claimed subsidy margins for Chinese tyre producers range from 2.38 to 6.59 percent.

However, the Chinese industry has hit back and in the past week the Chinese Rubber Industrial Association (RIA) has met with major tyre enterprises twice and discussed ways to deal with the petition.

Cai Yufeng, US business director of Hangzhou-based Zhongce Rubber, said: “The case is unreasonable. They (American tyre producers) are uncompetitive, but ridiculously, they try to put the blame on Chinese players.”

Jiang Guibo, general manager with the US Department under Shandong Linglong Tyres, added: “We are disappointed about it. We will try to provide enough accurate and complete proof too show we are not subsidised.”

The Chinese companies have been asked to fill in a questionnaire and submit it to the USITC by Thursday. A final decision, based on the information collected from the questionnaire, is expected within six months.

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