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United Steelworkers union accuses China of unfair trade

United Steelworkers, the union representing Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. factory workers in Findlay, has accused Chinese tire makers of unfair trade practices and is asking the federal government to impose tariffs on Chinese tire imports.

The union’s case, filed today with the International Trade Commission and Commerce Department, accuses state-owned Chinese companies of charging less for car and light truck tires sold in the U.S. than it does for the same tires sold in China. It also alleges the companies receive subsidies giving them an unfair advantage over U.S. companies, said Gary Hubbard, public affairs director for United Steelworkers, Washington, D.C.

Cooper Tire’s Findlay and Texarkana, Arkansas, factories makes light truck tires, said Rod Nelson, president of Local 207L, United Steelworkers. The Tupelo, Mississippi, factory makes car tires.

“We’ve got some of the most highly skilled, highly productive wrokers at the Findlay plant,” Nelson said. “China has to play by our rules if they want to compete in our market.”

“We just want China to play by the rules they agreed to when they joined the World Trade Organization,” Hubbard said.

If Chinese companies are allowed to continue as they are, “they will destroy our economy one sector at a time,” Hubbard said.

A resolution of the case could take a year, he said.

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