Naturally, the Chinese are miffed, to say the least. They feel the tariff is contrary to World Trade Organization rules and President Obama's rhetoric on current tariff levels, as well as being a tactic of undue protectionism. When China entered the WTO, the U.S. specifically negotiated the right to protect itself against a sudden wave of Chinese goods, and the ITC feels that China's share of the tire market having grown 14% in four years, with 31 million more tires entering, is just such an occasion.
Politics could be the decider in this one, however. China can complain to the WTO, attempt to impose its own countermeasures, or at the upcoming G-20 meeting it can simply whisper in Obama's ear, "You know that $1.56-trillion-and-counting deficit you guys need floated..." Nobody wins in the case of escalation, but we have a feeling the fight isn't yet finished.
[Source: Wall Street Journal | Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images]