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Bridgestone to close plants in New Zealand and Australia

Bridgestone has announced it will close two of its tire manufacturing plants - one in Australia and one in New Zealand.

Bridgestone has announced it will close two of its tire manufacturing plants - one in Australia and one in New Zealand.

In a sign that does not bode well for economic recovery among the tire and automobile industries, Bridgestone Corp. announced today plans to terminate operations at two of its tire manufacturing plants in Australia and New Zealand. The affected plants will be phased out by the middle of next year, taking 875 jobs with them. 600 of those jobs will come from the Bridgestone Adelaide plant in south Australia which has been in operation since 1965.

“We have worked hard over many years to avoid today’s decision,” senior executive director Andrew Moffatt said in a statement. “However, the unfortunate reality is that Bridgestone Australia can no longer commercially justify the continued operation of these facilities.”

Moffatt regretted the fact that the manufacturer was no longer able to compete internationally, but assured affected workers that plans were in place to assist them with finding new employment. This news only affects Bridgestone’s manufacturing plant in Adelaide – not the 1500 jobs held in its Adelaide headquarters. Distribution, customer service, and retail networks will not be affected.

The Adelaide plant primarily manufactured light and medium truck tires, while the New Zealand plant produced light truck tires.

Bridgestone thanked the community and is in talks with the government to re-gift some of the land they own back to the citizens in the area.

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China concerned tire tax could set a dangerous precedent

Now that the Obama administration has made its decision to impose a tax on all wholesale tires being imported from China, Chinese ambassadors continue to voice their concerns about the future of US-China trade relations. Most recently, an ambassador from China explained that the tire tax was “setting a dangerous precedent” that would encourage other struggling US industries seek similar protections.

“We regret that it happened because it’s unfair, it’s unnecessary and it’s of a protectionist nature,” Zhou Wenzhong told reporters.

Wenzhong and other critics of the tax feel that this measure will do nothing to boost jobs in the US, as the low-cost tires that are affected by the measure are not currently being manufactured in the US. Some speculate the tax will do nothing except force consumers to pay more for tires. The reality of the situation remains to be seen, but in the mean time both sides are hoping that the situation won’t erupt into a full-scale trade war. Wenzhong told reporters he doesn’t think this is likely, but actions will speak louder than words when other industries start lobbying the administration for protections of their own.

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