Tires, rubber products, polymers hit heavily in new Trump China tariffs

WASHINGTON—Nearly all tires imported from China, as well as a long list of rubber products, polymers and other raw materials important to the rubber industry, are subject to a 10 percent tariff proposed by the Trump administration.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued the notice on its website July 10.

According to the notice, the administration is modifying its original June 20 proposal to place 25 percent tariffs on up to $50 billion worth of Chinese goods to add 10 percent tariffs on up to $200 billion of additional goods.

USTR is taking this further action in response to China placing 26 percent duties on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods, according to the notice.

China chose to retaliate against the U.S. instead of addressing U.S. concerns with China's unfair trade practices, according to USTR.

"It did this without any international legal basis or justification," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement accompanying the release of the July 10 notice.

The 205-page notice is taken up almost completely with the list of goods facing a 10 percent tariffs, including but not limited to:

  • Natural rubber latex, natural rubber smoked sheets, technically specified rubber, other forms of natural rubber, guayule, styrene-butadiene rubber, chloroprene rubber, acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber, isoprene rubber, reclaimed rubber and many other types of rubber;
  • Tubes, pipes, hoses, conveyor belts and V-belts made of rubber;
  • New pneumatic tires for virtually every kind of vehicle, used tires, retreaded tires, tire treads and inner tubes;
  • Rubber medical and seamless gloves, rubber clothing, floor coverings and mats, gaskets, washers, seals, boat and dock fenders, and miscellaneous articles of hard or noncellular vulcanized synthetic rubber; and
  • Rubber accelerators, antidegradants and other chemicals.

USTR is proposing these tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which allows the president to take retaliatory action against governments that violate specific provisions of trade agreements.

The Section 301 Committee of USTR has scheduled four days of hearings on the proposed tariffs at the headquarters of the International Trade Commission. Those interested in appearing at the hearings must submit requests to appear, along with summaries of expected testimony and pre-hearing submissions, by July 27.

The agency also will accept written comments on the proposal until Aug. 17.

Trump's earlier lists of tariffs included 25 percent tariffs on imported steel, including tire-grade steel wire rod, which is necessary for domestic tire manufacturing and is not made in the U.S.

Later, the administration added tariffs on many goods from China, including molding and processing machines for rubber and plastics, new and retreaded aircraft tires, and a long list of motor vehicles.