Steelworkers: Lawmakers Support Feds’ Probe of Dumped Chinese Tires

      WASHINGTON (PAI)–The federal government’s investigation of whether China is illegally dumping car and light truck tires on the U.S. market – again – drew the support of 31 U.S. senators, the Steelworkers, who filed the tire-dumping complaint, report.


And the lawmakers’ letter, sent Sept. 11, will increase the onus on the Commerce Department to decide whether to impose tariffs and duties on the Chinese tires, and defend the domestic tire industry, the union adds.


The 30 Democrats, led by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., plus Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind.-Vt., told Obama administration Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker that tire imports from China “have roughly doubled” since the end of three years of prior U.S. tariffs and duties on dumped Chinese tires, in 2012.  The department imposed those tariffs after USW presented and proved prior evidence of huge Chinese subsidies.


The new complaint reveals 39 separate Chinese subsidies for tires exported to the U.S. Depending on tire type and size, price subsidies are as high as 88 percent, the senators said.


The lawmakers’ letter to Pritzker “demonstrates strong support nationally for the fair trade case made by American tire workers,” said Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, whose union leads both U.S. unions and businesses in filing unfair trade complaints.


“China has targeted this sector for years,” he added.  Its dumping destroys “family-supportive jobs performed by men and women who work hard and play by the rules.”  Those workers “want their elected leaders to stand up for American interests and for our nation’s trade laws to be enforced,” he added.


“China has methodically targeted industry after industry to fuel their export-led growth model and to keep their people employed. Too often, America is on the receiving side of their unfair trade practices that have contributed to the loss of more than 5 million manufacturing jobs and the shuttering of more than 60,000 facilities” in the last decade, Gerard pointed out.


Several of the Democratic senators who signed the letter are in key re-election races: Hagan, Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Al Franken (Minn.).  Other signers, including Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Bob Casey (Pa.) and both Michigan senators, are from steel-producing, tire-producing and vehicle-producing states.  No Republicans signed the letter.


U.S. trade laws must “be fairly and faithfully enforced to ensure workers – our consti-tuents – can be confident that when they work hard and play by the rules, their government will stand by their side to fight predatory trade practices,” the solons said.  “Thousands of workers are employed in this sector across the country, making the best tires available.”


The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 in June to probe the tire dumping, but the Commerce Department has the say on whether to impose tariffs and countervailing duties against dumped tires or not.  Its decision is expected early next year, Hagan said.