China Safeguard Tires Case -- What's Next?

Attention has turned from the USITC to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in the China Safeguard investigation on certain passenger vehicle and light truck tires (Inv. No. TA-421-7).

The tires case, filed in April by the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union ("USW"), continues to generate significant interest. Here is a rundown of what has happened so far and what will happen next.

Latest action. Following announcements of its affirmative determination regarding market disruption on June 18, 2009, and its recommendations of action to prevent or remedy market disruption on June 29, 2009, the Commission submitted its investigation report to the President and the U.S. Trade Representative on July 9, 2009, as required by the law. (A public version of the report is available on the USITC web site.) The publication includes the Commission's determination, remedy proposals, the views of the Commissioners (including separate and dissenting views), and information obtained in the investigation.

What's next? The China Safeguard law requires the USTR to make a recommendation to the President concerning what action, if any, the President should take to remedy the market disruption. Before making a recommendation, the USTR is required to publish notice of any measures it may propose and provide an opportunity to comment. The USTR on July 9 posted a Federal Register notice on its web site concerning its remedy proposal, inviting public comment and describing the procedures for submitting information. The USTR has scheduled a hearing for August 7, in the event that an interested party requests one. The USTR will submit its remedy recommendation to the President by September 2, 2009, as required by the law.

Then what? Within 15 days after receiving the USTR's recommendation on remedy, the President will be required to provide import relief unless he determines that providing such relief is not in the national economic interest of the United States or, in extraordinary cases, that taking action would cause serious harm to the national security of the United States.

If provided, when would the import relief take effect? According to the statute, import relief would take effect no later than 15 days after the President's determination to provide such relief.

-- posted July 20, 2009