Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the Administration to restore fair trade conditions for tire imports. There are thousands of New Yorker’s in the tire manufacturing industry, with more 1,100 employees at Goodyear’s Buffalo facility and more than 40 employees at Goodyear’s Niagara rubber manufacturing facility, being impacted by unfairly priced tire imports. Schumer and Gillibrand joined a bipartisan group of 31 senators in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, supporting the Department’s decision to initiate investigations into tire imports from China and urging them to act to restore fair trade conditions. The investigations are in response to petitions filed by the United Steelworkers (USW), on behalf of U.S. tire workers, who allege that China’s tire companies are illegally subsidizing the manufacture of tires and dumping them on the U.S. market, undercutting U.S. tire producers and workers.
“The Department of Commerce must level the playing field for Upstate New York tire manufacturers like Goodyear in Tonawanda, New York and its 950 workers, which are forced to compete with artificially-cheap foreign imports,” said Senator Schumer. “American manufacturers can compete with any competition, but when they play by the rules it is essential that we ensure that foreign competitors are doing the same. I have urged the Department of Commerce to consider the substantial evidence of damage caused by foreign dumping.”
“Dumping cheaper products into the U.S. cannot be tolerated,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We can protect New York tire worker’s jobs from predatory international practices by making it harder for other countries to corner the market through unfair and illegal trade. I urge Commerce to impose duties that stop predatory trade practices; so we can see more Made in America, starting right here in New York.”
The excessive importing of tires at less than fair market value in U.S. markets is called dumping. These practices have driven down the price of tires and oversaturated the market. Anti-dumping duties where previously imposed on light tires from China to address import relief but ended in 2012, causing China’s tire imports to double and increase from 24.5 million tires in 2011 to 50.8 million in 2013. This has led to a decline in sales for U.S. producers. The US industry is pursuing a China specific safeguard that helps U.S. industries and workers deal with import surges from China. This mechanism, found in Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974 as amended, became available to the United States after China’s accession to the WTO.
In their letter, the Senators wrote, “America’s laws against unfair trade are a critical underpinning of our economic policies and economic prosperity. Given the chance, American workers can out-compete anyone. But, in the face of China’s continual targeting of our manufacturing base, we need to make sure that we act quickly and enforce our laws.”
Along with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Kay Hagan (NC),Tammy Baldwin (WI), Mark Begich (AK), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Cory Booker (NJ), Sherrod Brown (OH), Bob Casey (PA), Chris Coons (DE), Joe Donnelly (IN), Dick Durbin (IL), Al Franken (MN), Tom Harkin (IA), Tim Kaine (VA), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Mary Landrieu (LA), Carl Levin (MI), Joe Manchin (WV), Ed Markey (MA), Bob Menendez (NJ), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Chris Murphy (CT), Mark Pryor (AR), Jack Reed (RI), Bernie Sanders (VT), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Mark Warner (VA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI).
In July, the International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 6-0 to investigate anti-dumping and countervailing duties against China. If evidence of material injury is found, Commerce will issue an anti-dumping duty order to offset the dumping, or a countervailing duty order to offset the subsidy.
Full text of the Senator’s letter to DOC is attached.