By a majority of 4 to 2, the U.S. International Trade Commission recommended Monday that President Barack Obama impose additional duties on imports of low-cost Chinese tires that the panel says are harming U.S. industry. The complaint was brought by the United Steelworkers union, which said Chinese tire imports have cost thousands of U.S. jobs.
The six-member commission recommended that Obama impose additional duties of 55 percent in the first year, 45 percent in the second year, and 35 percent in the third year on imports of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China. "In our opinion, these tariff levels would remedy the market disruption that we have found to exist," the four commissioners who voted for remedies said in a joint statement.
The other two commissioners said Obama should take no "trade-restricting" action. "This is an industry in which the trend toward gradual downsizing appears likely to continue regardless of the commission's action today," the two dissenting commissioners said in a statement.
Next month, the U.S. International Trade Commission will formally submit its recommendations to President Obama, who will then have until September to decide what, if any, action to take. U.S. presidents are free to make their own decisions about whether to accept the recommendations of the ITC. During his administration, President George W. Bush rejected the ITC’s recommendations on five different occasions.
In response to the ITC’s decision, Vic Delorio, executive vice president of Chinese tire maker GITI, said in a statement that he was disappointed that four of the six trade commissioners "felt compelled to take a decidedly protectionist path."