US distributors of imported Chinese tires have told an American trade body that the imports do not compete directly with American products, state media reported. Speaking before officials of the Office of the US Trade Representative, a distributor said low-end tires produced by Chinese firms target a different market segment than the premium tires produced by major American tire companies. The statements were in response to a US Steelworkers’ Union petition against distributors of imported tires on the grounds that the imports were determined to "cause or threaten to cause market disruption to the domestic producers." Mary Xu, deputy secretary general of the China Rubber Industry Association, said that the actual increase of tire imports to the US had been modest, rising only 2% from last year. Chinese tires account for 15% of all tire sales in the US.