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August 18, 2009

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Lobby against duties on Chinese tires

A Chinese deputy commerce minister flew to Washington yesterday to lobby against a US proposal to impose punitive duties of up to 55 percent on imports of Chinese tires, the government announced.

The administration of President Barack Obama is deciding whether to impose duties after the United States International Trade Commission ruled in June that competition from rapidly rising imports of Chinese tires was hurting American producers.

Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan will meet White House, Treasury and trade officials to press China's case against the tariffs, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said on its Website.

China has rejected the duties as a violation of World Trade Organization free-trade principles. Another deputy commerce minister, Fu Ziying, criticized the proposal last week as protectionist and said it would harm Sino-US trade.

The US also has launched a series of trade investigations into whether Chinese exporters are dumping goods ranging from wooden bedroom furniture, honey and candles to gift boxes, industrial chemicals and fresh garlic.

The union that brought the tire case, the United Steelworkers, said Chinese exports to the US more than tripled in 2004-08 to 41 million tires a year.

The union claimed that led to the loss of 5,100 jobs and another 3,000 jobs could be lost this year.

It wants Obama to cap Chinese tire imports at 21 million per year.


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