The political rubber is about to meet the trade (offs) road.
The United Steelworkers (USW) today updated the White House on this year’s sharp spike of “accelerating” Chinese tire imports.
According to preliminary government data for August, there’s been an extraordinary increase of passenger and light truck tire imports into the U.S. of 57% when compared to this year’s first four months leading up to the April petition filing by the USW, which that sought relief under Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) said in late June that tariffs should be implemented on the 46 million tires imported annually from China because of the harm done to the U.S. industry.
If the Obama Administration bows to Chinese lobbying pressure, made all the more potent since China is our largest holder of U.S. government debt, then it will disappoint organized labor, which helped propel it into office.
More is at stake here than just rubber worker jobs. The U.S. — without a senior level ministry to look after job creation as part of a larger industrial policy – is alone among all other large trading nations.
“We fear that the ITC’s recommended relief will be inadequate for this huge spike of imports, and that September will be even worse,” said USW President Leo Gerard. Ever since the ITC’s June finding of market disruption, we have watched with alarm as the Chinese have cranked up their exports of tires to beat the date any remedy is applied.”
Section 421 is a safeguard that China agreed to as part of its bilateral trade negotiations with the United States leading to China’s 2001 membership in the World Trade Organization.
Gerard testified last month that China tire imports had swelled in July to more than 42% over the same period from January to April.
Gerard said today, “This is yet another attempt to defeat the beneficial effects of a trade remedy designed to address the market disruption and harm already caused by these imports. The current imports spike from China will hurt U.S. workers further if not addressed in the President’s remedy decision.”