WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), along with U.S. Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03) and Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) wrote to Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, urging her to look into the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on steel trailer wheels from China and, specifically, whether the scope of these orders cover wheel parts produced in China and assembled in a third country. The lawmakers are concerned that China is attempting to work around these orders by nominally moving production to a third country, undermining how U.S. trade laws are intended to work, and hurting domestic companies like Dexstar Wheel, and its parent, Americana Tire & Wheel, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

“Ohio has a strong and proud manufacturing history. We want to be certain that Dexstar Wheel and other American manufactures and their employees are provided every opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Further, we believe it is important that the Department take the appropriate steps to ensure that the orders in place are not evaded or impacted by any decision that could have a negative outcome for the domestic industry,” wrote the lawmakers.

This case is the latest in a long list of global dumping cases targeting Ohio manufacturers. Sens. Brown and Portman applauded the ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) last month, siding with American tire workers to fully and fairly enforce U.S. trade remedy laws. Sens. Brown and Portman have led efforts in pressing the ITC to give full and fair consideration to the United Steelworker’s petitions in these cases of unfairly traded imports.

In April, Sens. Brown and Portman introduced the Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 to strengthen U.S. trade remedy laws and ensure they remain effective tools to fight back against unfair trade practices and protect American workers. This legislation builds upon the Leveling the Playing Field Act, a bill signed into law by former President Obama in 2015, that gives U.S. companies new tools to fight against unfair trade practices.

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo

Secretary of Commerce

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Secretary Raimondo:

We write to you regarding the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on steel trailer wheels from China, specifically on the question currently before the Department of Commerce regarding whether the scope of these orders cover wheel parts produced in China and assembled in a third country.

We urge you to conduct a thorough and meaningful examination of this question. The basis of this question is whether Chinese producers will be allowed to thwart the intent of existing orders by shifting final assembly of a product to a third country (in this case to Thailand), while continuing to use Chinese-made parts as a major input to the finished product shipped to the U.S. market.

The AD and CVD orders on Chinese steel trailer wheels are an example of how U.S. trade laws are intended to work: the domestic industry producing such wheels had almost entirely shifted overseas due to artificially low-priced Chinese imports when the orders were obtained by the final remaining U.S. member of that industry, Dexstar Wheel, and its parent, Americana Tire & Wheel, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Because of these orders, Dexstar Wheel has been able to expand its operation and reinvest in its workforce and community. In another positive sign, additional U.S. producers have reappeared because of these orders. This is welcome news for the industry and its workers.

We remain concerned about what we understand are trends by Chinese producers who seek to evade the orders by nominally moving production to a third country, but performing only the minimal production steps needed to avoid the orders. In this case, those Chinese producers ask the Department of Commerce to sanction this artifice by ruling that wheels that are partially made in China are outside the scope of the orders.

This matter is important to the U.S. industry and we ask that you give careful consideration to this scope request. The scope of the orders on Chinese steel trailer wheels was intended to prevent future abuse by covering parts of this product exported from China, as well as the finished wheels. The scope also expressly covers Chinese wheel parts that undergo further processing in a third country, specifically to address situations such as this one. We urge the Department of Commerce to assure that the full protection of U.S. trade laws is not diminished by creating unintended gaps in their coverage through scope decisions.

Ohio has a strong and proud manufacturing history. We want to be certain that Dexstar Wheel and other American manufactures and their employees are provided every opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Further, we believe it is important that the Department take the appropriate steps to ensure that the orders in place are not evaded or impacted by any decision that could have a negative outcome for the domestic industry.

Thank you for allowing us to express our views on this important matter.

Sincerely,


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