Reposted from the Springfield News-Sun
Steve Bennish | July 5, 2012 | Springfield News-Sun
The Obama administration Thursday announced that the U.S. is challenging China’s duties on more than $3 billion in exports of American-made automobiles.
The U.S. has asked for dispute settlement talks with China at the World Trade Organization to eliminate what it called unfair duties, “which appear to represent yet another abuse of trade remedies by China.”
The action comes as the president and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are waging a heated battle in swing state Ohio with television commercials focusing on China policy.
“As we have made clear, the Obama Administration will continue to fight to ensure that China does not misuse its trade laws and violate its international trade commitments to block exports of American-made products,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said. “American auto workers and manufacturers deserve a level playing field and we are taking every step necessary to stand up for them. This is the third time that the Obama Administration has challenged China’s misuse of trade remedies.”
It’s the third in a recent series of moves. In two earlier WTO cases, the U.S. challenged duties China imposed to restrict imports of steel products and chicken products from the United States.
In June, a ruling by the World Trade Organization said China violates trade rules by duties placed on American high-tech steel since 2009, a decision that could benefit AK Steel here and steel industry exports overall.
Actions by the U.S. have also been brought against China’s export restraints on industrial raw materials, including rare earths, China’s restrictions on electronic payment services and subsidies to China’s wind power equipment sector, Kirk said.
“In each of these matters, the key principle at stake is that China must play by the rules to which it agreed when it joined the WTO. Those commitments include maintaining open markets on a non-discriminatory basis, and following internationally-agreed procedures in a transparent way. In addition, the United States previously invoked a China-specific safeguard to address rapidly increasing imports of Chinese passenger and light truck tires,” the office of the Trade Representative said.