Steelworkers Laud Two More Federal Rulings vs. Unfair Dumping by China

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Add truck and bus tires and cold-rolled flat steel to the ever-lengthening list of goods China illegally dumps on the U.S. market.

That’s the outcome of two decisions in late June by the U.S. International Trade Commission – decisions the Steelworkers are cheering.

On June 29, the commission said China illegally dumped below-cost bus and truck tires on the U.S. The union filed the petition for action and supporting evidence six months before.

On June 22, the ITC voted for tariffs of up to 522 percent on cold-rolled flat steel from China and 71 percent on that steel from Japan. Five U.S. steel companies brought that case.   

The union provided data showing China exported 6.3 million truck and bus tires to the U.S. in 2013, but the figure jumped to 8.9 million last year. The ITC also found Chinese tires undersold U.S. tires by between 13.7 percent and 67 percent, the commissioners said.

The commission forecast tariffs on the tires ranging from 17 percent to 23 percent, but a final decision with tariff levels is not due until January 2017.

The subsidized tire imports hurt U.S. workers, the union pointed out. It represents  6,000 tire workers, at five plants -- Bridgestone-Firestone, Goodyear and Sumitomo factories in LaVergne and Warren County, Tenn., Buffalo, N.Y., Danville, Va., and Topeka, Kansas – who  account for two-thirds of U.S. bus and truck tire production.

 

The commission’s tire decision “confirms what our petitions alleged: That Chinese tire producers are receiving a wide array of government subsidies and exporting those subsidized tires to the United States,” said union President Leo Gerard.

“Our members can compete against any producer in the world, but it is simply unacceptable to ask us to compete against the deep pockets of the Chinese government’s state-owned enterprises.

“Unfair truck tire imports from China have denied our domestic industry the opportunity to share in production and job increases in a period of robust demand growth.  The U.S. imported over $1 billion of truck tires from China last year, and each of those Chinese tires means one tire less made here in the U.S. by USW members.”

Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson, who also chairs the union’s rubber and tire conference – the old United Rubber Workers – added the union has “fought back against China’s predatory trade practices in nearly every part of the tire industry, including tires for passenger cars, light trucks, off-road vehicles, and now truck and bus tires. 

“Again and again they have been shown to benefit from massive subsidies and to engage in widespread dumping in order to gain market share at the expense of American jobs. We will not rest until these unfair trade practices are remedied and our members have the chance to compete on a level playing field.”

ITC’s tariffs on cold-rolled steel imports cited both Chinese and Japanese subsidies.

The commission’s unanimous vote “signals to Steelworkers that more help is on the way,” Gerard said. But he again pointed out the process for determining that workers lose jobs and industries lose sales is too long, and comes after the fact. It took a year since the case was filed before the ITC ruled, Gerard noted. And U.S. workers still need “restoration of fair market conditions,” he said.

“Our companies and workers play by the rules. Too many of our competitors illegally employ actions that undermine our markets and take our jobs. Today’s decision addresses an important product segment in our domestic steel sector,” since cold-rolled flat steel is used in products such as cars and appliances. 

“But, because of the way our laws work, other affirmative final decisions by the ITC will be needed to provide relief to thousands of other workers.  Without a comprehensive approach by our government, we have to cobble together relief. This is time-consuming, expensive and unfair to those whose jobs have been under attack. Steel is the backbone of our economy and our national security. We cannot allow unfair trade practices to put our future in jeopardy.”

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Photo from ThinkStock.

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Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Press Associates

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