By Denna Bowman
Pressure is continuing to mount on the Obama administration not to impose extra duties on tyres imported from China.
Last year, Chinese manufacturers exported almost 46 million tyres to the US, with total value surpassing $1.7 billion.
The surge has been damaging the domestic industry, according to the United Steelworkers union which filed a petition earlier this year with the US International Trade Commission appealing to the government to limit the number of tyres imported from China.
The ITC proposed imposing extra tariffs on the imported tyres and President Obama will make a final decision on the matter in mid-September.
However, the Chinese argue that US manufacturers already import tyres from other countries, such as Venezuela, and sell them under one of their own brands. In short, it is quite likely that tyres from other countries would replace Chinese tyres. It is also quite likely that the price of these tyres will increase.
“They (the union) are just pushing Washington to use America’s economic crisis as an excuse to engage in protectionist measures,” said Xu Fengxian, economist, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.”
“Rather than punishing Chinese tyre manufacturers for their success, the US government should realise that the Union’s arguments are unreasonable,” China Chamber of Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters said in a statement. The chamber is helping Chinese tyre manufacturers fight the tariff dispute.
An anonymous official with GITI Tyre, china’s largest tyre maker, said: “Chinese tyre imports are in no way the reason for rising unemployment in the US tyre sector.
“The Chinese imports actually fill a gap in the low price tyre segment of US.”