By Denna Bowman
The World Trade Organisation will launch an investigation into US import taxes on Chinese-made tyres at a trade diplomats meeting next week.
The announcement follows the decision by the Obama administration to impose a three-year tariff on tyres imported from China, in a bid to protect America’s domestic industry.
It is the latest in a string of trade battles over subjects ranging from steel and song downloads to patents and poultry between the US, the world’s biggest importer, and China, the top exporter.
China’s complaint has been placed on the agenda of the WTO dispute body scheduled for 19th January.
Washington had stalled Beijing’s initial request for the launch of an investigation into the dispute last month, but cannot delay it for a second time under WTO rules.
The panel will be asked to evaluate whether the US tariffs violate rules governing trade among the 153 members of the WTO.
Trade cases often take years to resolve, but can result in the WTO authorising retaliatory sanctions.
Obama ordered the higher tire tariffs for three years, including a 35 percent additional charge in the first year. It comes on top of a regular 4 percent tariff.