U.S. Rep. David Price testified Tuesday before the U.S. International Trade Commission in support of stronger tariffs on Chinese tires, saying that unfair trade practices put North Carolina tire makers in Wilson and Fayetteville at a disadvantage.
Price, a Democratic congressman from Chapel Hill, said he supported a United Steelworkers petition for relief from dumped and subsidized imports of passenger and light truck tires from China. Tires are made in North Carolina at a Bridgestone factory in Wilson and a Goodyear plant in Fayetteville, which is in Price’s congressional district.
The U.S. International Trade Commission is a federal agency that investigates the impact of subsidized imports on domestic industries and other trade issues.
Price said that when the commission took action in 2009 on Chinese tires, imports from China fell and the tire companies added workers in North Carolina. The safeguards expired at the end of 2011, and then “the problem returned,” he said.
From 2011 to 2014, U.S. imports of Chinese tires more than doubled. Price cited a report by the trade commission that showed that Chinese producers undersold domestic producers. He said the lower Chinese prices “can be directly tied to state-sponsored efforts to boost production, including but not limited to below-market loans from state-owned banks, grants, tax breaks, and the provision of key raw materials from state-owned suppliers.”
Price and North Carolina Reps. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat from Wilson, and Walter Jones, a Republican from Farmville, were among the members of Congress who wrote to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in November to ask for “relief that will restore fair trade to the tire sector in the long term and that will address the surging imports presently facing the industry.”