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Taiwan tire exporters face U.S. anti-dumping tariffs

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Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Suppliers of car and truck tires from Taiwan and three other countries are facing anti-dumping tariffs after American authorities largely upheld a preliminary ruling accusing them of selling products at unfairly low prices in the United States.

According to the latest decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce released Monday, anti-dumping tariffs ranging between 14.62 percent and 101.84 percent will be imposed on tire makers from Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, with Taiwan to face the highest penalties.

Taiwan's Nankang Rubber Tire Corp. and Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co., the two Taiwanese mandatory respondents in the case, will face anti-dumping tariffs of 101.84 percent and 20.04 percent, respectively, while an 84.75 percent penalty has been imposed on other Taiwanese exporters.

The U.S. agency has also decided to impose tariffs ranging between 14.62 percent and 21.09 percent on tire exporters from Thailand, 14.72 percent to 27.05 percent on South Korean exporters, and zero to 22.27 percent on tire makers from Vietnam.

Another step is needed before the anti-dumping tariffs can take effect. The U.S. International Trade Commission is also studying the imports of tires from these four regions, and its commissioners are scheduled to conclude their investigation on June 23 and vote on whether to uphold the case.

The DOC will forward its final results to the ITC for consideration.

Some changes were made to the tariffs in the DOC's final review. Cheng Shin Rubber Tire's dumping duty after the preliminary review was 52.42 percent but it was lowered by more than half to 20.04 percent, while Nankang Rubber Tire's penalty was raised to 101.84 percent, from 98.44 percent.

The tariffs for all other Taiwanese exporters fell slightly to 84.75 percent, from 88.82 percent.

In response, the Taiwan Rubber & Elastomer Industries Association said it was surprised by the latest ruling, saying that no Taiwanese tire makers intended to dump their products in U.S. markets.

During the investigation by the DOC, the association said, Taiwanese respondents tried to provide evidence to show they were not selling their products at unfair prices, but they still received the stiffest penalty, which could hurt Taiwan's competitive edge.

The association said the tariffs could prompt Taiwanese firms to relocate their production lines to other countries to avoid the tariffs, leaving workers in Taiwan to bear the brunt of the U.S. measure.

In an earlier announcement, Nankang Rubber Tire said it had decided to ship passenger car and light truck tires for the U.S. market from its Zhangjiagang plant in China's Jiangsu province instead of its original production base in Xinfeng in Hsinchu County.

The company said tire products not affected by the ruling, however, will still be shipped from the Xinfeng plant to the U.S. market, and production will be expanded.

For its part, Cheng Shin Rubber Tire said passenger car and light truck tires account for less than 2 percent of the group's total sales.

More importantly, the final tariff rate was cut from the rate decided on in the preliminary ruling, making the company more competitive, Cheng Shin Rubber Tire said.

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