By Oliver Hall
The controversial decision to slap heavy duties on cheap tyres shipped into the US from China has not reduced overall import figures or saved jobs, according to a trade council.
Now the US-China Business Council has urged President Barack Obama to order a study into the effects of the tyres tariffs.
John Frisbie, the council’s president, said in a letter urging the US government to act: “USCBC has found no evidence that the tariffs on low-end Chinese tyres have had a positive effect on American jobs, and we suspect the tariffs have had a negative overall impact on American consumers.
And in a separate policy brief examing the decision Obama made a year ago, the USCBC added: “US imports of the low-end tyres involved in the case are up substantially, but have shifted from China to other suppliers.”
Obama slapped a 35-percent tariff on Chinese-made tyres after the United Steelworkers union claimed the imports were damaging the domestic tyres industry.
A spokesman for the United Steelworkers union dismissed the USCBC’s report showing employment in the US tyre sector has fallen and tyre prices paid by consumers have risen since the duties were imposed.
Gary Hubbard, USW for spokesman, said: “The Chinese importers’ motives and their pitch would clearly be suspect by any common-sense standard.
The US Trade Representative’s office also said it believed Obama’s decision had a positive impact on domestic tyre production industry and employment.
A spokesman said: “US tyre producers reportedly have increased production and are considering new investments. We also believe from reports that they have preserved jobs in the industry.”