September 12, 2009

U.S. slaps tariff on Chinese tire imports

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced a 35 percent import tariff on Chinese car and light-truck tires that U.S. workers contend are disrupting the market.

In a proclamation Friday night, Obama said he was acting after the U.S. International Trade Commission determined Chinese car and truck tires were being imported into the United States in such increased quantities or under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause market disruption to the domestic producers of like or directly competitive products.

The move was seen as a major victory for the United Steelworkers union, which represents U.S. tire industry workers, at a time when Obama is counting on their support to help him push his healthcare industry reform measures through Congress, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper also said it was the first time the United States has activated a safeguard against Chinese import surges that was included as part of the 2001 agreement allowing China's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Since China joined the WTO, American workers have not been assured that the government would defend them against unfair trade, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told The Washington Post.