WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for voting to uphold antidumping duties on imports of tapered roller bearings from China. In July, Brown testified before the ITC on behalf of an Ohio steel bearings manufacturer that would have been negatively impacted if the commission had decided to let these tariffs against China lapse. The Timken Company is a global leader in steel bearings production and its products are used in machinery like cars, agricultural equipment, construction and mining equipment, propeller shafts, wind turbines, and more. The company employs roughly 15,000 workers worldwide, including more than 1,400 Ohioans who make the bearings at issue in this trade review.

At issue in this trade case was whether the ITC should let the tariffs against China’s roller bearings manufacturers lapse. The tariffs have been in place for more than 30 years and have protected domestic producers like Timken from predatory trade practices. In his testimony, Brown argued that the tariffs should not be allowed to sunset; instead they should be continued in order to protect Ohio jobs. 

“Our workers can compete with anyone—but only on a level playing field. Antidumping duties are one tool our government has to fight back against the unfair trade practices carried out by countries like China,” Brown said. “By enforcing trade law and maintaining duties on tapered roller bearings, the U.S. International Trade Commission has done the right thing and stood up for Ohio workers.”

In June, Brown testified at the ITC on behalf of Timken in a case to decide whether illegally dumped imports from Korea have hurt the Ohio manufacturer.

Brown’s Leveling the Playing Field Act, passed into law in 2015, makes it easier for companies like Timken to bring and win cases like this one at the ITC.

Brown’s testimony from July, as prepared for delivery, is below.

Testimony of Senator Sherrod Brown

U.S. International Trade Commission Hearing on

Tapered Roller Bearings from China

Investigation No. 731-TA-344 (Fourth Sunset Review Full)

July 31, 2018

Chairman Johanson and members of the Commission, thank you for the opportunity to testify in this case regarding tapered roller bearings from China.

This case is critical for the petitioner, the Timken Company, and the American workers it employs. Timken is an Ohio company and a global leader in bearings production.

I was here last month testifying on behalf of Timken and its Ohio workers in a different case on tapered roller bearings.

Last month, I reminded you that Timken employs thousands of Ohioans, and about 1,400 of those workers make the bearings covered in this case.

They work on tapered roller bearing production in towns across Ohio, including North Canton, Bucyrus, and New Philadelphia.

These communities need these high-paying manufacturing jobs, and unfair trade can have a devastating impact. Just last year, a bearings plant closed in Sandusky, and 400 workers lost their jobs.  When a factory closes, it’s terrible for the workers, of course, but the traumatic effects stretch to their families and to their entire communities.

Our trade laws were written to help protect U.S. workers and businesses from unfair trade practices. I’m hoping the outcome in this case will help to prevent more Ohio bearings workers from getting pink slips.

Unfair trade practices are a real and constant threat to bearings manufacturers and their employees.

Last month, I testified on behalf of Timken’s Ohio workers in a separate case, one dealing with the threat to U.S. manufacturers from Korean imports.

Whether it’s Chinese producers – like in today’s case – or Korean producers, foreign competitors have consistently used unfair trade practices to attempt to gain market share in the U.S. And they’ve been doing it for decades.

The case that’s under review today was filed by Timken more than 30 years ago in 1986.

And it is only because of our trade laws that they’ve been able to fight back against dumped imports over the past three decades.

The question before the Commission today is whether the domestic tapered roller bearings industry is at risk of being materially injured by Chinese imports if the tariffs currently in place are lifted.

In previous sunset reviews in 2000, 2006, and in 2012, the Commission found that yes, China is still cheating, and lifting tariffs would put American companies and American jobs at risk.

I hope the Commission will reach the same conclusion in this year’s review.

As I testified just a few weeks ago, it is clear that the domestic industry is still under threat from foreign imports. 

  • In the last few years, domestic industry’s production, capacity utilization, U.S. shipments, and inventories decreased.
  • Employment and wages related to tapered roller bearings have also declined. 
  • Financial indicators of the domestic industry, such as net sales, gross profit, and operating income, have declined, despite the fact that the sector remained profitable overall. 

We know what happens when we lift tariffs on some Chinese producers because we’ve tried it over the years. They go right back to dumping in our market and undermining American manufacturers.

We have an opportunity to protect U.S. producers and workers from a surge of unfairly traded imports in today’s case.

Commerce has already determined that lifting the tariffs would result in a continuation or recurrence of dumping by Chinese producers.

I urge the Commission to issue a final determination that lifting the tariffs would result in a continuation or recurrence of material injury of the domestic industry so Timken and its workers can get the relief they need to keep competing in the global market.

Thank you.