September 11,2009

Baucus Welcomes President's Decision To Enforce Trade Rules

Additional tariffs limit surge in Chinese tire imports

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) tonight welcomed President Obama’s decision to enforce a U.S. trade law designed to address import surges from China that disrupt the U.S. market. Specifically, the President imposed temporary, additional tariffs on U.S. imports of Chinese tires pursuant to section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974.

“Strong trade enforcement must be the cornerstone of U.S. international trade policy,” Baucus said. “Since day one on the Finance Committee I have urged every President to vigorously enforce U.S. trade laws. Today, President Obama clearly demonstrated his commitment and willingness to do so. And he sent a clear signal to America’s – and Montana’s – farmers, ranchers, and workers that he will defend their rights under our international trade agreements.”

Under the terms of its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China agreed to allow the United States and other WTO members to impose tariffs or other remedies until 2013 to address surges in Chinese imports. Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974 implements this remedy in U.S. law. During the last administration, the ITC determined in four separate cases that import surges from China had disrupted the U.S. market, but the President denied relief in each case.

On April 20, 2009, the United Steel Workers filed a petition with the International Trade Commission (ITC) under section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974 alleging that a surge of U.S. imports of Chinese passenger and light truck tires has disrupted the U.S. market, forcing U.S. tire plants to close and displacing U.S. workers. On June 18, the ITC determined that increased Chinese tire imports have in fact disrupted the U.S. market and recommended the President impose additional tariffs for a three-year period. Today, the President announced his decision to impose the following additional tariffs on Chinese tire imports in response to the ITC’s determination: 35 percent in the first year, 30 percent in the second year, and 25 percent in the third year.