Following more than a year of an anti-dumping investigation into tires imported from Thailand, the US has finally ruled that passenger vehicle and light truck tires imported from Thailand are subject to anti-dumping (AD) duties. As a result, prices of such Thai tires in the US have risen, although the overall Thai tire exports to the US, thus far, has yet been affected much because other types of Thai tires sold in the US have been spared the AD duties. These include heavy truck tires that continue to perform well there. Given this, we at KResearch expect that the value of Thai tire shipments to the US will grow at least 2.6 percent YoY during 2021. However, the US AD duties imposed on Thai tires may hurt future investment in the Thai tire industry and in turn tire exports to the US (primarily for the REM market).
Additionally, KResearch is of the view that future investment to be undertaken by tire makers from Japan and Western countries in Thailand to facilitate the REM market will be limited as they are set to increase such investment in the US or USMCA. However, Chinese companies manufacturing less popular tire brands will likely increase investment in Thailand for exports to other countries as they want to diversify risk and achieve economies of scale more quickly. They may eventually focus their tire shipments to the US because it is Thailand's largest tire export market. Meanwhile, Chinese firms manufacturing new tire brands may consider increasing investment in Vietnam or Indonesia.
Meanwhile, although the OEM tire market amounts to only 10 percent of Thailand's total tire production, popular brands intended for the Thai OEM market will see increased investment to facilitate growth in domestic car production, particularly when Thailand becomes a regional car production hub for exports, even though such investment will be made at a slow pace.
Looking ahead, to ease the impact of US AD duties on Thai tire exports, tire makers are urged to place emphasis on cost reductions by utilizing more automation in the production process. They may also consider tapping the xEV tire market in the future as this will offer new investment and export opportunities. Meanwhile, the government should accelerate FTA negotiations with countries that serve as our direct and indirect tire export destinations to ease the impact of the US-China geopolitical tensions on future investment in the Thai tire industry.