Tires, polymers on list of proposed 10% China duties

WASHINGTON — The list of Chinese products targeted by the Trump administration’s potential next round of import duties includes nearly all tires along with polymers and other raw materials important to the rubber industry.

According to the notice, posted on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Web site, the administration is modifying its original June 20 proposal — to place 25-percent tariffs on up to $50 billion worth of Chinese goods — to add 10-percent duties on up to $200 billion of additional goods.

The USTR is taking this action in response to China’s placing 26-percent duties on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation to the U.S.’s action, according to the notice. China chose to retaliate against the U.S. instead of addressing U.S. concerns with China’s unfair trade practices, according to the USTR.

“It did this without any international legal basis or justification,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

The 205-page notice is taken up almost completely with the list of goods facing a 10-percent tariffs, including but not limited to:

  • New pneumatic tires, bias, radial and/or solid, for virtually every kind of vehicle, ranging from motorcycles to heavy-duty construction, mining and/or industrial vehicles, as well as used tires, retreaded tires, tire treads and inner tubes;
  • Natural rubber latex, natural rubber smoked sheets, technically specified rubber, other forms of natural rubber, guayule, styrene-butadiene rubber, chloroprene rubber, acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber, isoprene rubber, reclaimed rubber and many other types of rubber;
  • Tubes, pipes, hoses, conveyor belts and V-belts made of rubber;
  • Rubber medical and seamless gloves, rubber clothing, floor coverings and mats, gaskets, washers, seals, boat and dock fenders, and miscellaneous articles of hard or noncellular vulcanized synthetic rubber; and
  • Rubber accelerators, antidegradants and other chemicals.

The USTR is proposing these duties under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which allows the president to take retaliatory action against governments that violate specific provisions of trade agreements.

 The Section 301 Committee of the USTR has scheduled four days of hearings on the proposed tariffs, beginning Aug. 20, at the headquarters of the International Trade Commission.

Those interested in appearing at the hearings must submit requests to appear, along with summaries of expected testimony and pre-hearing submissions, by July 27. All requests to appear at the hearing must be in English and sent electronically via regulations.gov. To submit a request, enter docket number USTR-2018-0026 on the home page and click “search.”

Remarks should be limited to five minutes, the USTR said.

In addition, the USTR asks those wanting to appear to submit a request to appear and a PDF of the summary of proposed testimony by email to 301investigation@ustr.eop.gov. In the subject line of the email, please include the name of the person who will be presenting testimony, followed by “request to appear.”

The agency will also accept written comments on the proposal until Aug. 17.

Chinese passenger and light truck tires already are subject to antidumping and countervailing duties ranging from 14.54 to 100.77 percent.

Mr. Trump’s earlier lists of duties included 25-percent tariffs on imported steel, including tire-grade steel wire rod, which is necessary for domestic tire manufacturing and is not made in the U.S.

Later, the administration added tariffs on many goods from China, including molding and processing machines for rubber and plastics, new and retreaded aircraft tires, and a long list of motor vehicles.