The linked article's title is very misleading. Chinese tires aren't returning, because they never left.
What the president did in September 2009 was implement a three year descending tariff on certain Chinese manufactured tires. If I remember the numbers correctly it was 35% in 2009, 30% in 2010, and 25% in 2011...ending this year and going back to the original 3-4% range. Some say the tariff was to protect US jobs, some say it was a union political payoff. I don't know for certain as nobody called me to let me in on it.
It did cut down on the total number of Chinese built tires imported into the US, while raising the prices on the ones that did come in. However, there were still Chinese tires being imported the whole time. Some manufacturers did move their production/molds to non-tariff imposed countries.
I know there for awhile we could get the US made Kelly (Goodyear owned) tires cheaper than several of the Chinese imports.
The tire industry has been in limbo for a few months now, as nobody was certain if the tariff was going to be renewed. This has caused many tire shortages recently. No distributor wanted to buy a bunch of Chinese tires, if they were about to be 20% cheaper at the end of September.....so they have let their inventories drop drastically while playing the waiting game. They also didn't want to buy too many tires made in the US or elsewhere...if they were going to buy a lot of cheaper priced Chinese tires.
Now, everyone thinks that tire prices will go down, but I have a different train of thought, as I have seen this before and think it would be short term at best. Now that the US will probably purchase more Chinese tires, the Chinese will buy more of the worlds raw resources used to produce them, which in affect will raise the prices on these resources......which will make the costs of all tires go up, irregardless of where produced. I just don't think we are going to see Chinese tires 20% cheaper for very long (if at all)......but I'll know in a bit when I see the prices on new Chinese imports when they hit our shores.