Press Release

At Senator Gillibrand’s Urging, President Obama Rules in Favor of WNY Tire Industry Workers

Sep 12, 2009

Washington, DC – At the
urging of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, late last night President Obama determined
that a surge of tire imports from China has injured domestic tire industry
workers and imposed a tariff.  In April, Senator Gillibrand called on the International Trade
Commission (ITC) to hold a hearing on this issue and in May expressed her
support for the petition, urging action to help preserve close to 1,000 jobs at
the Goodyear-Dunlop facility in Western New York. In July, Senator Gillibrand
joined with a bipartisan group of 10 Senators to urge President Obama to adopt
recommendations made in June by the ITC.

“I am pleased that President Obama
determined that an import surge of tires from China is adversely affecting the
domestic industry,” Senator Gillibrand said.  “Over the last
four years, tire imports from China have increased by more than 200 percent in
volume and close to 300 percent in value. This dramatic increase in
imports – close to 46 million tires – has disrupted the market for many of our
domestic tire manufacturers, affecting jobs in New York and across the country.
President Obama’s decision will help to fairly enforce our trade agreements and
provide relief for our workers.”

Section 421 of the Trade Act of
1974, allows companies or workers to petition for import relief when they can
demonstrate that a surge in a particular product from China has caused or
threatens to cause injury.  This safeguard mechanism was created in 2000
as part of the process of bringing China into the World Trade Organization, and
was agreed to in both China and the United States.

In its petition in this case, the
United Steelworkers (USW) demonstrated how imports of passenger vehicle and
light truck tires from China between 2004 and 2008 led to sharp declines in
domestic production and over 5,000 job losses.  The petition presented
data illustrating there was a 215 percent increase in imports by volume and a
295 percent increase in imports in terms of dollar value over the five-year
period from 2003 to 2008.   The petition laid out convincing evidence
that the import surge has led to sharp declines in domestic production and job
losses that exceed 5,000.  The evidence also showed that imports were
expected to grow unless controls were put in place.

President Obama’s decision will lead to a tariff on tires
from China at 35 percent the first year, and 30 and 25 percent the second and
third year respectively. The tariff will go into effect September 26.