The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association Sends Letter to President Opposing Proposed Steel Tariffs

For more information contact: Kim Kleine
(202) 682-5856
kkleine@ustires.org

Leading U.S. Tire Manufactures Oppose Steel Tariffs, Demand Exemptions

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 7, 2018– CEOs and senior leaders of U.S. tire manufacturing companies, members of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), today sent a letter to the President urging him to rethink the proposed 25 percent tariffs on imported steel, citing significant, negative impacts to U.S. manufacturers with cascading detriments to U.S. commerce and the U.S. economy.

“Our mobile society depends on tires, and our tires depend on specialized steel. Domestic steel producers simply do not have the ability to produce the type of steel wire rod needed to support the $27 billion U.S. tire manufacturing industry, which is why virtually all of such steel wire rod is sourced from foreign suppliers,” said Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA President and CEO. “To levy a 25 percent tariff on steel imports would cause incredible harm to the growing U.S. tire manufacturing industry and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of hard working Americans who work every day to keep the American economy and military on the road.”

Should the Administration move forward with such trade restrictions, USTMA urgently requests the tire industry be exempt from any such tariffs on steel imports.

The full letter is available below and here.

The following is the text of the letter sent today:

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear President Trump,

We are writing to share our concerns with your announced intention to levy 25 percent tariffs on imported steel. We strongly urge you to consider the unintended and substantial negative consequences that trade restrictions on steel imports will have for downstream U.S. manufacturers.

The U.S. tire manufacturing industry keeps America’s economy on the move. Our companies operate 56 tire-related manufacturing facilities in 18 states and generate over $27 billion in annual sales. We are responsible for more than a quarter million U.S. jobs – totaling almost $20 billion in wages. In 2017, our companies accounted for 82% of the 316 million passenger, light truck and truck tire shipments in the U.S.

The U.S. tire manufacturing industry has enjoyed years of sustained growth, expanding our footprint across the United States. We believe this trend is likely to continue with more and more global tire manufacturers viewing the United States as an attractive location for tire manufacturing operations.  Your announcement on March 1, 2018 of significant broad tariffs on imported steel could derail this renaissance in domestic manufacturing.

Imported high-quality steel is critical for tire production. U.S. tire manufacturers depend on grades of steel which are unavailable domestically to produce tires. Electric arc furnace technology, used in domestic steel mills, is unable to produce consistently the quality of tire cord-quality wire rod necessary to make tire cord for use in tire manufacturing. Tire cord-quality steel wire rod is produced using basic oxygen furnace technology, which generally is employed only by foreign wire rod suppliers.

The Department of Commerce Section 232 report recommends instituting a process that would allow Secretary Ross to exclude specific products if the U.S. lacks sufficient domestic capacity. Should you determine to levy 25 percent tariffs on imported steel, we urge the Administration to exempt the tire industry from any such tariffs.

Any action that curtails the availability of the supply of tire cord or tire cord-quality steel wire could potentially have a cascading negative impact on U.S. commerce, since the transportation industry and the military depend on a reliable supply of tires to ship goods throughout the country. Further, a disruption in tire manufacturing in the U.S. would threaten national security, since the U.S. military relies on the tire industry to provide high performing and durable tires to aid in our national defense.

We are deeply concerned with how the industry’s inability to source the steel required for tire production will affect the future of tire manufacturing in the U.S. We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this critical matter.

Sincerely,           

 

Gordon Knapp
Bridgestone Americas, Inc.       

 

Jochen Etzel
 Continental Tire the Americas, LLC

 

Steve Zamansky
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company

 

Steven McClellan
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Harry Choi
Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.

 

Scott Clark
Michelin North America, Inc.

Maureen Kline
Pirelli Tire North America

 

Richard Smallwood
Sumitomo Rubber Industries

James Hawk
Toyo Tires Holdings of America Inc.

 

Jeff Barna
Yokohama Tire Corporation

 

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About U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association: The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S. USTMA members operate 56 tire-related manufacturing facilities in 18 states and generate over $27 billion in annual sales. In 2017, USTMA members accounted for 82% of the 316 million passenger, light truck and truck tire shipments in the U.S.  For more information visit www.USTires.org and follow us on Twitter @USTireAssoc.

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