WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Wednesday that subsidized bus and truck tires imported from China had not damaged the U.S. industry, and as a result it would not issue anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on the products.
The negative finding represented a rare outcome for the panel, which said in a statement that three of the five members who voted came out against the damage determination. The ITC said one of its six commissioners did not participate.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Jan. 23 had determined final subsidy rates ranging from 38.61 percent to 65.46 percent and anti-dumping margins ranging from 9 percent to 22.57 percent on such imports.
In 2015, U.S. imports of more than 8.9 million truck and bus tires from China were worth $1.07 billion.
The United Steelworkers union, which launched the petition last year against the imports, said it was disappointed.
"The ITC commissioners made a huge mistake," USW International President Leo Gerard said in a statement. "The size of the margins clearly indicated the serious nature of the problem, but our law separates the facts from the determination of whether injury has occurred."
An official speaking for one of the targeted Chinese manufacturers lauded the decision.
"Anybody considering all the facts, including the record profits for American manufacturers and their inability to even come close to satisfying domestic truck and bus tire demand, would have to conclude that this was the right thing to do," Walter Weller, senior vice president at China Manufacturers Alliance LLC, said in a statement.
CAM is a subsidiary of Double Coin Holdings Inc, which had faced countervailing duties of 20.98 percent and antidumping duties of 22.57 percent.
Wang Hejun, the head of the trade remedies and investigations division at China's Commerce Ministry, also welcomed the decision.
"China appreciates that the ITC could make a fair ruling that respects the objective facts," Wang said in a statement on the ministry's website on Thursday.
(Reporting by Tim Ahmann, Susan Heavey and Eric Walsh; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by David Alexander and Clarence Fernandez)