The United States on Thursday filed a trade complaint with the World Trade Organization challenging Chinese duties placed on more than $3 billion in U.S.-made vehicles, Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.
The action against the anti-dumping duties ranging from 2 to 21.5 percent comes as Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, along with foreign manufacturers, in recent years have ramped up U.S. production, particularly in the South. Growing domestic appetites and lower transportation costs have driven manufacturers to bring auto plant production back to Mexico and the U.S.
The trade action is the latest in a string of U.S. complaints to the WTO against China. The U.S. previously filed complaints accusing China of restricting its exports of rare-earths materials, restricting imports of steel products and chicken parts, and unfairly subsidizing its wind power equipment sector.
“As we have made clear, the Obama administration will continue to fight to ensure that China does not misuse its trade laws and violate its international trade commitments to block exports of American-made products,” Kirk said. “American auto workers and manufacturers deserve a level playing field and we are taking every step necessary to stand up for them. This is the third time that the Obama administration has challenged China’s misuse of trade remedies.”
In May 2011, China determined U.S.-made cars and sport utility vehicles had been sold at less than fair value, or dumped, and had benefited from U.S. subsidies. It wasn’t until last December, however, until China began imposing duties on U.S.-made vehicles with an engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger.
Kirk said China began its anti-dumping investigation without enough evidence and set policy unsupported by its findings. The U.S. also argues China didn’t release “essential facts” explaining its conclusion that it was a victim of dumping, improperly investigated the matter and didn’t require non-confidential reports from affected Chinese companies.
Under WTO rules, the U.S. and China have 60 days to settle the dispute before a WTO dispute settlement can be called for.