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China calls for WTO talks on US tire tariffs

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[September 14, 2009]  BEIJING (AP) -- China accused Washington on Monday of violating World Trade Organization rules by raising tariffs on Chinese tires and demanded talks in the WTO on the latest and most acrimonious in a string of trade disputes.

"The American side's imposition of protective measures on Chinese tires violates WTO regulations," Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian said in a statement. Yao said Beijing was exercising its rights as a WTO member to demand talks to settle the dispute.

President Barack Obama approved the tariffs Friday to slow the rapid growth of U.S. imports of Chinese-made tires that have been blamed for the loss of thousands of American jobs. That drew an accusation of trade protectionism from Beijing.

Yao's statement called on other governments to oppose protectionism.


The White House said Obama acted under a provision in the U.S.-Chinese agreement on Beijing's WTO membership that allows Washington to slow the rise of Chinese imports to allow American industry to adjust.

Obama's order Friday raised tariffs for three years on Chinese tires -- by 35 percent in the first year, 30 percent in the second and 25 percent in the third.

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The United Steelworkers brought the case in April and said more than 5,000 tire workers have lost jobs since 2004 as Chinese tires flooded the U.S. market.

China's government said Sunday it is launching antidumping investigations into imported U.S. auto and chicken products.

The Commerce Ministry said it would look into complaints that American auto and chicken products are being dumped into the Chinese market or are benefiting from subsidies.


On the Net:

Chinese Ministry of Commerce: http://www.mofcom.gov.cn/

[Associated Press; By JOE McDONALD]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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