Dec 18 2013
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), John Boozman (R-AR) and Congressman Tom Cotton (AR-4) urged administration officials to protect the interests of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in China ahead of meetings of the U.S.-China Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Beijing that begin tomorrow.
Cooper is an Ohio-based global tire manufacturer with 2012 revenues of $4.2 billion and major U.S. manufacturing facilities in Arkansas, Ohio and Mississippi. Cooper has a large, majority-owned joint venture manufacturing facility, Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Company (CCT), in Rongcheng, Weihai City, Shandong Province in China, which accounts for roughly 25 percent of Cooper’s worldwide production.
The letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Mike Froman calls for action in resolving Cooper’s joint venture in China.
Here are excerpts from the letter sent today:
“We write today with deep concern about a serious issue Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is facing at its joint venture in China which has put the entire company at risk, including more than 5,000 jobs in the United States, and which has serious implications for all American businesses with interests and investments in China. We respectfully request your assistance in resolving this urgent matter.”
“Cooper has been facing a series of actions in violation of its rights as the majority owner of the joint venture…These actions have included, initially, two 5,000-employee work stoppages and, subsequently, labor actions including forced occupation of the CCT production facility; denial of access for Cooper and its appointed members of CCT management to the facility, financial data, and personal property; workers’ refusal to input financial and production data into CCT systems in accordance with internal operating procedure; workers’ refusal to produce Cooper-branded products; and the unlawful appropriation of company chops and registration documents.”
"In response to these actions, Cooper has requested assistance from Chinese government authorities at all levels, has appealed to local police, and has attempted to seek justice in local courts of law, but the situation continues. Cooper management has made multiple attempts to ... reach a resolution. ... At this point, the situation remains unresolved and Cooper has suffered considerable losses."
Since June 2013, one of Cooper’s international factories in Shandong Province, China has faced constant work stoppages and other actions threatening the whole company. Cooper operates the facility as a joint venture with a Chinese partner.
Efforts to resolve this issue have been unsuccessful and the consequences continue to worsen. The production process has not been restored to its previous state, and Cooper has suffered considerable losses. One of the most critical issues that Cooper currently faces is that it is being denied access to the joint venture’s financial and operational information. Without this information, Cooper is unable to file its financial report for Q3 2013 as required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This has forced Cooper to be in violation of its U.S. and global regulatory obligations, which could potentially have broad impacts on its U.S. operations and its 5,000 U.S. workers.The letter was also signed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Thad Cochran, (R-MS) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Congressmen Jim Jordan (OH-4), Bob Latta (OH-5) and Alan Nunnelee (MS-1).