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US agency extends deadline for new antidumping duties on Chinese tires

The International Trade Commission has until 17 July to reach preliminary determinations of possible injury to the US tire industry in the United Steelworkers petition covering passenger and light truck tires imported from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The US Department of Commerce on 4 June extended the deadline amid hundreds of submissions delivered to the ITC over the past several days by affected and interested parties and is tied to its decision to extend the deadline for its "initiation determinations" to 22 June from 2 June.

After the ITC reaches its preliminary determinations in the case, it has five business days – until 24 July – to transmit its views to the Commerce Department. The original deadline was 29 June.

The USW filed antidumping- and countervailing-duty petitions 12 May with the Department of Commerce and the ITC alleging companies in these four locations are dumping products in the US at margins ranging from 33% (Vietnam) to 217% (Thailand).

According to the ITC's summary of the USW's petitions, the commission must "determine whether there is a reasonable indication that an industry in the United States is materially injured or threatened with material injury, or the establishment of an industry in the United States is materially retarded, by reason of imports of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from (South) Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam … that are alleged to be sold in the United States at less than fair value and alleged to be subsidised by the government of Vietnam."

A sampling of documents filed by affected parties and government entities from the targeted sources and reviewed by Tire Business are in near 100% agreement that the imposition of elevated import duties on tires from the targeted locales would increase prices for consumers and do little, if anything, to secure jobs at US companies.

The USW said in its statement that it believes the record will show that subject imports used "pervasive underselling" to gain market share and also "suppressed and depressed domestic prices."

"Our petition demonstrates that the average unit value of subject imports is far below the unit value of other major trading partners such as Canada, Mexico, and Japan," the USW's statement said.

Under the Tariff Act of 1930, US industries may petition the government for relief from imports that are sold in the US at less than fair value ("dumped") or which benefit from subsidies provided through foreign government programs.

Under the law, the Commerce Department is tasked with determining whether the dumping or subsidising exists and, if so, the margin of dumping or amount of the subsidy.

The ITC first determines whether there is material injury or threat of material injury to the domestic industry by reason of the dumped or subsidised imports.

If the ITC determination is affirmative, Commerce continues its investigation. If the secretary of Commerce agrees with the ITC's preliminary affirmative determination, the case goes back to the ITC to conducts the final phase of the injury investigation.

The final-phase injury investigation usually must be completed within 120 days after an affirmative preliminary determination by the Secretary of Commerce or within 45 days after an affirmative final determination by the Secretary of Commerce, whichever is later.

If the ITC determination is affirmative, the secretary of Commerce issues an antidumping- and/or countervailing-duty order, which is enforced by the US Customs Service.

If the determination is negative, no antidumping duty or countervailing duty orders will be issued.