Commerce set to disappoint on OTR imports from India

Commerce set to disappoint on OTR imports from India

United Steelworkers and Titan International have suffered another blow in their fight for anti-dumping duties on imports of new pneumatic off-the-road tires, with the U.S. Department of Commerce making a negative preliminary finding on the dumping of OTR tires from India.

What’s the background on these imports?

Earlier this year USW and Titan lodged a joint petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission against dumping and countervailing on cheap OTR tire imports from China, India and Sri Lanka, claiming they were harming the U.S. OTR industry and American jobs.

In February the ITC found there was a “reasonable indication” that the U.S. industry was being harmed by imports allegedly sold in the U.S. at less than fair value and subsidized by the Indian and Sri Lankan governments leading to a Department of Commerce investigation. It found, however, that Chinese imports were “negligible” and no further investigation was warranted.

The Department of Commerce then made two preliminary determinations; in June it announced a countervailing duty (CVD) order for OTR tires for India ranging from 4.70 to 7.64 percent and for Sri Lanka at 2.90 percent. Then in August, it found there probably wasn’t a case for anti-dumping (AD) duties imposed on the two countries.

What does this mean?

The Department of Commerce has to make final decisions in both cases and so does the ITC. They both must agree otherwise no action will be taken. Even if the ITC says the anti-dumping argument should stand, if the department sticks with its original negative finding, no anti-dumping duties will apply to Indian and Sri Lankan OTR imports.

Why are USW and Titan so concerned?

Both organizations are no stranger to petitions against cheap imports; in 2014 USW won a trade case against passenger vehicle and light truck tire imports from China, with those imports now covered by duty orders. USW and Titan have lodged two further petitions this year, with mixed results.

In this case, according to the U.S. government’s import statistics for 2014, new pneumatic off-the-road tires from India were valued at an estimated $167.3 million. The USW represents 2,500 workers producing OTR tires and more than 58 percent of the domestic capacity in OTR heavy tire production.

When giving testimony to the ITC, USW said the workforce engaged in producing OTR tires at Titan’s three facilities shrank by more than 40 percent from 2012 to 2014. Declines in production, hours, employment and investment were the result of a rise in low-priced imports.

“The USW was disappointed in the preliminary results announced Friday by the USDOC,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Petitioners have raised a number of important issues in advance of the preliminary comments . . . until disclosure materials are provided to USW, we won’t know if those issues were addressed in the preliminary or not.

“Our members have suffered harm from OTR imports. The USW will be looking to the Commerce Department to address all issues raised by petitioners in their final (determination) to ensure that any dumping is in fact addressed and offset.”

So what happens now?

The Department of Commerce makes its final determinations on the anti-dumping and countervailing cases around October this year and the ITC its own final decision in December. A final outcome will probably be announced in January 2017.

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