China will levy anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on certain U.S. vehicle imports, the commerce ministry said on Dec. 14, a move likely to fuel tensions between the world's two biggest economies.
The tariffs will be applied for two years to passenger cars and sports utility vehicles with engine capacities of 2.5 liters or more and will take effect on Dec. 15.
The decision will affect vehicles produced by General Motors, Chrysler Group, BMW Manufacturing, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, American Honda Motor and Ford Motor.
The move is likely to further strain ties between Beijing and Washington, which have recently locked horns over solar panels, chickens and the value of the Chinese currency.
China said the investigation into U.S. auto imports found domestic vehicle manufacturers had "suffered substantial damages" due to the dumping and subsidies.
The anti-dumping penalties range from 2% to 21.5% while the anti-subsidy tariffs will be set at a maximum 12.9%, the ministry said.
State media said previously that the total number of vehicles affected by the tariffs would not exceed 50,000 units a year -- a small fraction of the total number of vehicles sold in China. China overtook the United States in 2009 to become the world's biggest auto market.
Most cars sold in China are produced in the domestic market through joint ventures between Chinese and foreign automakers. The majority of luxury cars are still imported.
The country's auto sales rose more than 32% last year to a record 18.06 million units, but the sector has since lost steam after Beijing phased out sales incentives such as tax breaks for small-engine vehicles.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011