The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) has made “significant progress” toward its goal of getting specialty trailer tires excluded from the investigation related to the importation into the US of certain passenger vehicle and light truck tires from the People’s Republic of China.

A few weeks ago, K&L Gates filed comments on behalf of NATM with the US Department of Commerce on the matter.  On August 21, the union that initiated the proceeding filed an official rebuttal to the docketed comments received from NATM and other organizations, stating, in part, that it agrees with NATM’s position that certain specialty trailer (ST) tires should be excluded from the scope of the investigation.

The union also outlined in detail which specialty trailer tires it believes should be excluded, specifically referencing NATM’s comments. 

   “The Department of Commerce still needs to act before the scope is officially modified, but the petitioner (the union) agreed that the intent wasn’t to include ST tires,” NATM executive director Pam O’Toole Trusdale said. “We were just pleased that the petitioner agreed with our comments. We don’t know for sure, but we’re hopeful because they’re not saying, ‘No, no, no, we want to include ST tires too.’ They’re saying, ‘We didn’t intend to include ST tires.’

   “So we’re hopeful that ST tires will not be included in any tariff that might be imposed. It’s not final, but it’s a positive sign. They’re not disagreeing with us and what we said. NATM will continue to monitor the investigation closely and will continue to cooperate with the Department of Commerce to advocate for the interests of our members.”

   Trusdale said she expects the Department of Commerce to make a final decision by the end of October.

  The issue came to the forefront when the Department of Commerce opened an investigation in response to a petition alleging certain passenger vehicle and light truck tires produced in China were unfairly competing with domestically produced tires. The petition sought to have tariffs imposed upon those products in order to compensate for the harm alleged to be caused to the US industry.

   NATM believes that during an expansion of the scope requested by the petitioners, it is possible that certain types of ST tires may have been captured and could be subject to future tariffs.

   In a letter to NATM members, the organization wrote: “As noted in NATM's comments, trailer tires are not marked with the ‘P’ or ‘LT’ prefixes but rather are marked on the sidewall ‘for trailer use only.’ These products are produced exclusively for use on trailers and the vast majority are not manufactured in the United States.  Further, ST tires and all specialty trailer tires marked ‘For Trailer Use Only’ are not found in the passenger tire or light truck tire sections of the Tire and Rim Association Year Book. We are concerned that inclusion of ST tires in the scope of this investigation would lead to higher costs and potential shortages of ST tires. If this occurs, it would have a significant adverse impact on the light and medium duty trailer industry.”