The US Commerce Department said it will investigate whether China and India are dumping off-the-road tires into the US.

The department said on Thursday that it will look into whether Chinese manufacturers of off-the-road tires received unfair subsidies from the government. A similar investigation will be done for tires from India and Sri Lanka, the department said.

The dumping margin is 11.2 to 77.69 percent, according to the department. The estimated subsidy rate is less than 2 percent.

Off-the-road tires are used in agricultural fields, at construction sites and on airport tarmacs. The investigation of China will cover only tires mounted to wheels or rims because the Commerce department has been looking into possible dumping of newer tires from China since September 2008.

By Feb 22, the US International Trade Commission will make a preliminary determination on whether the domestic US tire market has been negatively affected. If it decides it has been, final anti-dumping determinations will be made by October.

A petition for the investigation was filed in January by Titan Tire Corporation and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union. Titan previously won anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese off-the-road tires in 2007.

In 2014, the United Steelworkers union petitioned for tariffs on Chinese tires, but the Tire Industry Association, an international trade organization, opposed the measure. It said that the petition, “despite being well-intentioned, would not help in the preservation of manufacturing jobs, and would be harmful to consumers, as these tires are often an affordable solution to those drivers with limited budgets.”

Tire imports from China increased from 6.3 million truck and bus tires in 2012 to 8.4 million in 2014, and were valued at $1.2 billion, according to figures from the United Steelworkers. In 2015, through November, imports increased another 7 percent, it said.

Tractions News, a trade publication, said that while the US domestic market may suffer due to cheaper products coming from abroad, US manufacturers tend to make higher-end products and those from China, India and Sri Lanka are lower-end tires.

By AMY HE Feb. 6, 2016 on China Daily

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