It’s been a couple of weeks since President Obama agreed to enforce U.S. trade laws in a case involving tire imports from China—and you’d think by the reaction in some anti-worker quarters he was creating the equivalent of death panels.
In 2008 alone, China’s tire makers sold more than 46 million low-cost tires to this country for stores like Wal-Mart. More than 5,100 domestic consumer tire production jobs were lost between 2004 and 2008 by the flood of Chinese tire imports that undersold producers in the United States. Domestic tire companies have announced they will close more plants and eliminate another 3,000 jobs by the end of this year. (Check out a fact sheet on the tire decision here.)
In July, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) ruled in favor of a United Steelworkers’ (USW‘s) petition filed under Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974 as amended. The USITC found that tariff relief was needed to urgently reduce those tire imports. The USW, which represents most U.S. tire workers, demanded the Obama administration act forcefully to counter this import surge. And on Sept. 11, the Obama administration agreed to provide tariff relief by increasing the duty on tires from China for three years.