WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- In a blow for U.S. brake drum manufacturers, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted 4-0 on Tuesday not to restrict imports from China.
The vote, which comes at time of growing concern about U.S. manufacturing job losses, spares President George W. Bush from having to make a decision in the case.
Three Midwestern companies filed a petition in June asking for a 205-percent tariff on Chinese rotors and a 141-percent tariff on Chinese brake drums.
The companies were Brake Parts Inc., a subsidiary of Dana Corp., of McHenry, Ill.; Federal-Mogul Corp. of St. Louis, Mo.; and Thyssen Krupp Waupaca of Waupaca, Wisc.
China's share of total U.S. brake drum and rotor imports rose from 20.50 percent in 1997 to 40.24 percent in 2002, the companies said in papers filed with the ITC.
The surge in imports disrupted the U.S. market by pushing down prices and profits, the companies said.
However, the ITC voted unanimously on Tuesday that the increased imports did not pose a threat.
The case was the third filed under a "safeguard" provision of the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000, which paved the way for Beijing's entry into the World Trade Organization.
The safeguard clause allows the White House to temporarily restrict imports from China if the ITC determines they pose a threat to domestic firms.
In the two previous cases involving wire hangers and mechanical lifting devices known as pedestal actuators, the ITC sided with the domestic industry. However, Bush decided against restricting imports in both cases.