Global Processing

China lodges WTO complaint over US tire tariffs

September 14, 2009

According to the Associated Foreign Press, China has hauled the United States to the World Trade Organization over what it alleged were unfair tariffs imposed by Washington on Chinese tire imports. Amid warnings that a surge in Chinese-made tires had cost more than 5,000 jobs in the United States, President Barack Obama imposed punitive duties of 35-percent on the Chinese imports, igniting the first trade spat of his presidency just weeks before hosting his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. The government-run U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) had urged duties of up to 55-percent after union leaders claimed imports of cheap Chinese tires had tripled over the last five years. However, to minimize Chinese anger, Obama had opted for a lower figure, whereby tariffs, already at four percent, will soar by an additional 35 percent in the first year, 30-percent in the second and 25-percent in the third. Beijing reacted strongly against the move, saying over the weekend that it would in turn investigate possible unfair practices in U.S. exports of car parts and chicken. Beijing and Washington now have 60 days to hold bilateral consultations on the issue. If it is not resolved at the end of the period, the WTO would rule on the issue.