Press Release

Gillibrand Urges President to Adopt ITC Recommendations for Relief for WNY Tire Workers Hurt by Surge in Imports

Jul 17, 2009

Washington, DC –U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined with a bipartisan group of 10 Senators this week to urge President Obama to adopt recommendations made in June by the International Trade Commission (ITC) for an appropriate remedy for the surge in tires imported from China hurting Western New York’s workers.  In April, Senator Gillibrand called on the ITC to hold a hearing on this issue and in May expressed her support for the petition, urging action to help preserve the jobs of close to 1,000 workers at the Goodyear-Dunlop facility in Western New York.
“I am pleased to see that the ITC has decided to provide an appropriate remedy to preserve these jobs,” 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. I hope that the President will be able to provide this relief for our New York workers.”
In June, the ITC recommended an additional duty of 55 percent of the value of Chinese tire imports, decreasing to 45 percent the next year and the 35 percent in the year after that, before being phased out.  In addition, the ITC also called on the President to work with the Departments of Labor and Commerce to provide expedited consideration for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for those affected by the import surge.
The President, in consultation with cabinet and administration officials, is required to issue a decision on a remedy by mid-September. 
In their letter to President Obama, the Senators quote, “Across the country, Americans are increasingly frustrated with the impacts of unfair trade practices on working families… We appeal to you to provide relief and secure the future of our domestic tire industry and its highly-skilled workforce.” Joining Senator Gillibrand on the letter to the White House were Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Kay Hagen (D-NC), and Richard Burr (NC).
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 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 and are expected to grow unless import controls are put in place.