US wins trade row with China over export duties
Washington, May 25, 2014
The US has won a trade dispute with China over duties slapped on US exports of large cars and sport utility vehicles, the World Trade Organisation said.
China, the second-biggest market for US vehicle exports, in 2011 started levying punitive duties on vehicles with engines of 2.5 litres and above, in retaliation for US trade policies. The duties have since expired.
China, which only joined the WTO in 2001, is the second most common target of US disputes at the trade body after the European Union.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman said the duties affected $5.1 billion in US auto exports in 2013, including popular models such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Buick Enclave and Cadillac Escalade. Total US auto exports to China totalled $8.6 billion.
Although Froman said he was pleased China had dropped the duties, which ranged up to 21.5 per cent, he said it was worrying the US had brought, and won, three WTO cases against China over unfair import duties.
"We remain deeply concerned by the troubling pattern of China's misuse of anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures," Froman said at a news conference, flanked by Michigan lawmakers Sander Levin and Debbie Stabenow, whose state is home to US car makers Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co.
China argued the duties were imposed because US automakers had received US government subsidies and dumped their vehicles into the Chinese market, harming China's auto industry.
US Senator Charles Schumer has called on the USTR to file another complaint against China over cyber-spying, after the US on Monday charged five Chinese military officers and accused them of hacking into US nuclear, metal and solar companies to steal trade secrets.
Schumer, who represents New York state in Congress, said the actions breached a WTO agreement on intellectual property requiring countries to protect trade secrets.
Asked if the USTR was considering any action, a senior official said the office always looked actively at problems around the world, but would not talk about potential actions.
A spokesman for China's Embassy in Washington noted that the WTO rejected some arguments by the US and supported some of Beijing's.
China also had reservations about some elements of the WTO decision, such as the calculation of the dumping margin, spokesman Geng Shuang said in an emailed statement.-Reuters