Higgins Stands Up for U.S. Workers At International Trade Commission Hearing
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) provided testimony at a United States International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing in Washington, D.C. to stand up for U.S. workers negatively impacted by unfair trade practices that allow the dumping of Chinese-made truck and bus tires in the United States.
In his testimony Congressman Higgins said in part, “The data in these cases is clear. Chinese imports of truck and bus tires have rapidly increased in the last three years alone – from 6.3 million tires in 2013 to 8.9 million in 2015. This growth has occurred due to unfair trade practices. The Commerce Department has preliminarily determined that many Chinese tires are dumped into the United States. If this market distortion is allowed to continue, the jobs of American workers and the viability of continued American manufacturing of truck and bus tires will be in jeopardy.”
In May 2016 the International Trade Commission determined “there is reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of truck and bus tires from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.” The ITC finding is detailed in a report issued in March 2016 and comes after the U.S. industries are United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union in Pittsburgh, PA filed a petition calling for an investigation. The ITC is now in its final phase of investigation.
The ITC is headed by six Commissioners, currently three Democrats and three Republicans, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate who serve as an “independent, quasijudicial Federal agency with broad investigative responsibilities on matters of trade. The agency investigates the effects of dumped and subsidized imports on domestic industries and conducts global safeguard investigations.”
At the ITC hearing Higgins argued, “The Tonawanda plant that is in my Congressional district currently has capacity to increase production by 50%. If unfair trade policies that allow subsidized Chinese exports into the U.S. are corrected, as these cases would do, this plant would grow. This Commission should help aid that growth.”
Just four manufacturers produce truck and bus tires in the United States at plants located in six states, including the Sumitomo plant in Tonawanda, New York. The industry includes more than 6,400 workers including 1,300 in Western New York.
Higgins, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee that oversees trade policy, concluded by saying, “Right now our workers face a one two punch from China. The 39 documented Chinese programs under investigation by the Commerce Department offer unfair subsidies to Chinese truck and bus tire companies. These programs make it difficult for American-made goods to be competitive. I believe that action by you in the next month can take away key distortions and level the playing field in this vital sector. I urge you to vote affirmatively in this case on February 22. Your role is critical in restoring free and fair trade in the truck and bus tire sector.”
Thomas O’Shei, President United Steelworkers Local 135 also attended Tuesday’s ITC hearing representing the 975 Steelworkers employed at the tire plant in Western New York.