Tires totaling $4.4 billion were imported from four Asian countries last year.
As the only part of a vehicle that makes contact with the ground, tires are critical to the safe functioning of your car. That's why a natural rubber shortage, a material used to make tires, caused understandable alarm within the industry when it was reported in April. Now, another tire issue that specifically pertains to the United States tire industry has developed. Essentially, the importing of generally cheaper tires from Asian regions like Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam have been found to negatively impact US tire manufacturers. Tires to the value of $4.4 billion were imported from Asian countries last year.
The statement that US tire companies are "materially injured" by tire imports from Asia came from the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) this week. The same criticism by the ITC applies to subsidized passenger tires from Vietnam. According to the ITC, the US Commerce Department "will issue antidumping duty orders on imports of these products from Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, and a countervailing duty order on imports of these products from Vietnam." However, the Commerce Department did not issue a statement of its own on the matter.
Following prior petitions by the United Steelworkers (USW) which represents thousands of employees at numerous tire plants in the US, the Commerce Department investigated the issue of imported tires from the aforementioned countries. Workers represented by the USW work for companies like Michelin, Yokohama, and Goodyear and at tire plants in regions like Alabama, Ohio, and Kansas. Michelin, for example, supplies high-performance tires for cars like the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the Chevy Corvette C8.
"We're grateful that the ITC affirmed what USW members see every day: a deliberate effort to undercut our domestic industry and overtake our market," said Tom Conway, USW International President.
The union previously tackled imported tires from China back in 2015, reducing imports from the Asian nation and helping local companies to expand capacity.