WASHINGTON (Sept.11, 2009) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today supported President Obama’s decision to provide relief to the domestic consumer tire sector to respond to surging exports of tires from China.
“For far too long, workers across this country have been victimized by bad trade policies and government inaction. Today, President Obama made clear that he will enforce America’s trade laws and stand with American workers,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said.
“The President sent the message that we expect others to live by the rules, just as we do,” President Gerard continued.
“When the USW filed its trade case, it asked that relief be provided in the form of quotas. The International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed with the USW’s view as to the nature of China’s surging exports, but decided that relief in the form of tariffs would best respond to China’s actions. Despite imposing a different remedy than recommended by the ITC, we are optimistic that the step taken by The President will provide real, effective relief,” USW International Vice President Tom Conway said.
“Workers have a right to expect that our trade laws will be enforced. Past experience shattered those expectations. President Obama has struck a blow for restoring confidence in the rule of law,” Gerard said.
“China and its agents here in the U.S. tried every trick in the book to protect their interests. They hired former government officials and paid them countless dollars to lobby their case. They paid for trumped up studies to support their efforts and used front groups to lobby their cause and to influence politicians,” indicated Gerard.
“In the past, the efforts of our opponents often have worked. But in the past weeks, dozens of political leaders, more than 60,000 Steelworkers, their families, friends, neighbors and allies across the country said enough is enough. Steelworkers have fought long and hard for this day and are grateful for the support of their friends and, most importantly, for the action of the President,” said Gerard
“This is an important day for all American workers – especially the thousands of tire industry workers whose jobs were on the line as a result of a huge surge in Chinese tire imports that began in 2004. This decision means a better deal for hardworking American men and women and the millions of manufacturers, farmers and ranchers, and service providers who ask only for a chance to compete on fair terms. It also means China and other countries can no longer assume they can engage in predatory trade practices with impunity. The President understands that providing effective relief from import surges for the U.S. tire industry in this case is fully consistent with our WTO obligations. And it is the right thing to do,” Gerard indicated.
The United Steelworkers laid out a compelling record in this case that huge increases in imports were leading to growing job losses, market disruption and the erosion of a segment of our manufacturing base. An independent government agency, the U.S. International Trade Commission, agreed and recommended tariffs over a three-year period to give the domestic industry breathing room by addressing China’s surging exports of consumer tires thereby giving the industry and its workers time to restore their competitive posture. The Office of the United States Trade Representative, after hearings and an interagency review, made a confidential recommendation to the President. The President’s action today provides for 3 years of relief with tariffs of 35% the first year, 30% the second and 25% in the third year which the Administration estimates will achieve the same goals as the USW was seeking. More information on the case is available on the Steelworkers’ web site at www.usw.org/tires/.