By Oliver Hall
China says it “strongly opposes” US President Obama’s decision to impose steep tariffs on its imported tyres.
Chinese officials claim the US policy is a form of protectionism that threatens relations between the two nations.
President Barack Obama had until September 17 to accept, reject or modify a US International Trade Commission ruling that a rising tide of Chinese tyres into the US, was damaging the domestic industry.
A powerful union, United Steelworkers, blames the increase for the loss of thousands of American jobs.
However, the Chinese government argued that the tyre trade dispute threatened an economic relationship crucial to the country’s economic growth.
Chinese officials had previously appealed to Washington to avoid taking steps that might harm relations.
Yao Jian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said that the tariffs set a bad precedent in the light of the global economic crisis and that it reserved the right to react.
The Ministry said in a statement: “China strongly opposes this serious act of trade protectionism by the US.
“This act not only violates the rules of the World Trade Organisation but also violates the relevant commitments made by the US government at the G-20 financial summit.”
The Chinese government will continue to adopt necessary measures to support its tyre industry to deal with the negative impact caused by the case, it said.
China also signaled that it reserves the right to bring the case to the WTO.