By Denna Bowman
Within days of a key ruling which could lead to restrictions on Chinese tyres imported into the US, the manufacturers are already considering contingency plans.
Tyres makers in China have acted quickly after last week’s decision by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to back a United Steelworkers (USW) petition to introduce strict limits on tyre imports.
The ITC ruled 4-2 in favour of petition which was brought by the union because it claimed the surge in cheap tyres from China is harming the domestic industry.
Now China’s tyre manufacturers are considering other alternatives to selling to the US.
Shandong Linglong Rubber said, shortly before the ruling was announced, that it would “have to look to new markets” if the US imposed quotas.
While Bayron Liun, export manager of aftermarket and contract tyre maker Hangzhou Shunyuan, said: “African business is very good. These months Africa is getting better and better.”
Liu added that they are currently selling about 500,000 tyres a year in Africa.
Tier 2 and Tier 3 tyre makers seem to be the most affected by the situation as they have been mainly reliant on filling the gap in the U.S. market for budget tyres.
Chinese tyre exporter Sinotyre International is also looking at alternative markets in anticipation of the quotas.
Staff at Sinotyre said shipments to the US have been halted indefinitely, which is forcing them to
concentrate on developing business in other markets.
In 2008, Sinotyre International exported 2 million tyres to Africa, and now the firm is planning sales promotions to boost sales even further.