WTO to Probe China, US Auto Dispute

Oct. 23, 2012
In December 2011, China announced it would impose anti-dumping duties on U.S.-imported vehicles with engines of 2.5 liters or larger.

The World Trade Organization on Tuesday established a panel of experts to investigate a complaint by the United States over Chinese duties on auto imports. In the dispute, one of many involving the world's two biggest economies, the U.S. described China's actions as having "profound procedural and substantive deficiencies," a source close to the organization said.

The duties were also in breach of international trade rules, the U.S. delegation said.

China responded by saying that it regretted the U.S. request for the WTO dispute-settlement panel since Beijing had followed the organization's guidelines and had hoped to solve the matter bilaterally.

The vehicles at issue were "dumped on the Chinese market and were subsidized by the U.S., causing injury to the domestic industry of China," a Chinese statement said.

In December 2011, China announced it would impose anti-dumping duties on U.S.-imported vehicles with engines of 2.5 liters or larger.

The latest dispute dates back to July when the U.S. asked for WTO intervention after calling China's actions "unjust."

According to Washington, the Chinese duties affected more than 80% of U.S. auto exports to China.

In another ongoing dispute, the U.S. has also accused China of providing at least $1 billion  in illegal subsidies to Chinese auto and auto parts exporters over 2009-2011, helping them beat U.S. manufacturers in the $350 billion U.S. market.

Ten U.S. Cases Against China are at the WTO

Washington now has 10 cases against China at the WTO, most of them lodged in the past two years, part of an effort by President Barack Obama's administration to use trade rules to beat down Beijing's huge bilateral trade surplus with the U.S.

In the first seven months of this year China sold $174 billion more in goods to the U.S. than it bought from the U.S .-- on pace to slightly surpass the 2011 full-year bilateral trade gap of $295 billion.

Answering the U.S. complaint with one of its own, China approached the WTO in September and said Washington had unfairly applied anti-dumping and countervailing duties to two dozen Chinese products.

The newest China complaint challenged U.S. duties on paper, steel, tires, magnets, chemicals, kitchen appliances, wood flooring, and wind towers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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