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Kaine testifies in support of United Steelworkers
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Kaine testifies in support of United Steelworkers

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U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine testified Tuesday before a commission in support of United Steelworkers, representing workers at the Danville Goodyear plant.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced final determinations on Tuesday on antidumping and countervailing duty investigation of truck and bus tire imports from China, in response to a 2016 United Steelworkers Union petition, according to a news release.

The petition claimed tires were being “dumped” in the United States at below-market prices and were benefitting from illegal government subsidies. The department found evidence to support both claims, and has imposed dumping margins on Chinese importers ranging from 9 to 23 percent, and subsidy rates between 40 and 65 percent, according to the union.

According to the International Trade Commission, “Dumping occurs when a foreign producer sells a product in the United States at a price that is below that producer’s sales price in the country of origin, or at a price that is lower than the cost of production. The difference between the price in the foreign market and the price in the U.S. market is called the dumping margin.”

“The Danville plant is the largest producer of commercial truck and bus tires in North America, and Goodyear is the city’s largest and highest paying private employer,” Kaine said in testimony to the commission Tuesday morning, according to a news release. “Virginians recognize that these are good jobs. These are the exact American manufacturing jobs we all want to protect and support.”

Goodyear recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of opening the Danville plant, which employs approximately 2,200 people. More than 1,800 of their employees are members of the USW Local 831 chapter, based in Providence, North Carolina.

The commission must still decide if workers and the industry have been injured by these import practices before the duties become permanent.

Kaine testified on behalf of the USW on a similar petition in 2015, and as governor of Virginia, helped the Danville plant to secure performance based grants and community funding to help Goodyear modernize technology at the plant, and “enable the plant to produce more innovative commercial tire products and serve as a testament to the manufacturing possibilities in Virginia,” according to the news release.

“This ruling would be a major victory for American rubber workers, their families and their communities if the ITC decides that workers have been ‘injured,’” said USW International Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson in a news release.

Johnson chairs the union’s national rubber and tire bargaining conference.

“Every sector of the U.S. tire industry has been under siege from China’s unfair and illegal trade practices,” Johnson said.

“Commercial truck tires are an important part of our business globally,” Laura Singleton, communications manager of the Danville plant said in an email. “We are closely monitoring developments in this case.”

Ceillie ​Simkiss reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at csimkiss@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7981.

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