U.S. Takes China Trade Cases to WTO

China slaps unfair duties on U.S. electrical steel, U.S. government claims

Trade tensions between the United States and China ratcheted up another notch on Sept. 15, as Washington called on the WTO to probe unfair Chinese trade practices. The United States asked the World Trade Organization to investigate China's allegedly unfair treatment of U.S. steel and electronic payment providers, the first step toward sanctions.

"We are concerned that China is breaking its trade commitments to the United States and other WTO partners," U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk said. Amid mounting U.S. anger about China's trade policies, Kirk's office said it would ask the WTO for "consultations" about Beijing's policies, a step that could lead to sanctions.

U.S. authorities said China slaps unfair duties on U.S. electrical steel and has not opened up its market in electronic payments.

"The duties imposed by China have raised the price of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of American steel headed into China, with the practical effect of reducing or blocking exports of our steel to that country. China must not abuse WTO procedures to protect its market," Kirk said.

"This case makes clear that the United States will not permit China to threaten American steelworkers jobs by using anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings to harass U.S. exports."

The announcement also comes after the United Steelworkers union asked U.S. authorities to investigate Chinese subsidies to the green energy sector.

Beijing claims that U.S. steel had been dumped onto the Chinese market and subsidized.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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