Modern Tire Dealer

JUN 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D J u n e 2 0 1 9 40 I mports of radial truck tires from China into the U.S. have dropped 25% in the first three months of 2019, from more than 1.8 million to just shy of 1.4 million, compared to the same period a year ago. And that follows a record end-of-the-year surge in buying in December 2018. In that single month, according to data recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.17 million truck tires were shipped from China to the U.S. — that's 62% higher than the monthly average for all of 2018. So what's with the drastic ups and downs? Tariffs. e numbers correlate perfectly with the ebb and flow of the industry's latest trade developments. On Nov. 1, 2018, the U.S. Court of International Trade ruled the International Trade Commission (ITC) would have to reconsider its 2017 decision not to impose tariffs on Chinese truck tires. e court decision was like the waving of the green flag at the start of the Indianapolis 500 — it was time to stock up on truck tires. On Jan. 30, 2019, the ITC reversed its earlier decision. ere would be tariffs on truck tires aer all, and two weeks later they were effective — at the rates initially set back in 2017. e buying spree was over. Shipments have dropped to their lowest levels since mid-2017. On top of all this is President Donald Trump's trade war, which included an addi- tional 10% tariff on all tires from China in July 2018. at rate has since increased to 25%. It all adds up to uncertainty. China is the world's largest producer of truck tires, and one key point in the argument of whether or not to impose tariffs has been that without China, the U.S. doesn't have the capacity to build all the tires the market needs. Modern Tire Dealer asked truck tire manufacturers whether they depend on truck tires from China to source the U.S. market. Of the 10 companies who answered the question, only three replied with a clear "no": Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Continental Tire the Americas LLC and Zhongce Rubber Group Co. Ltd. (ZC Rubber). Richard Li, marketing director of ZC Rubber, says the company shied production to ailand in 2015. Others have done the same, and imports of radial truck tires from ailand increased 39.7% in the first three months of 2019. Li says, "We forecast a shortage of supply for the truck tire segment as more than 50% of truck tire production capacity is located in China. If the supply stops, the suppliers in other countries cannot offer enough supply to the U.S. market. It will be a good chance for the retread tire vendors to expand in the market." Scott Rhodes, vice president of North American sales for Omni United (S) Pte. Ltd., says the company has worked to diversify its Joy Kopcha By PHOTO COURTESY OF HANKOOK TIRE AMERICA CORP. Also in CTD Past, Present, Future: Inventory Management .................... 48 AG Tire Talk: R-1 vs. R-1W in detail Tread depth isn't the only difference when comparing the two ................. 50 Commercially Viable ........................ 57 The uncertain world of truck tires EXPECT TIGHTER SUPPLIES AND HIGHER PRICES C o m m e r c i a l T i r e D e a l e r ™ Hankook says its "robust global manufacturing network" helps the company adapt to market changes, and minimize the effects on its truck tire customers.

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