China to appeal to WTO over US tyre export ruling

China said Tuesday it regretted the World Trade Organisation’s rejection of its complaint against punitive US tariffs on Chinese tyres and would appeal “at an appropriate time”.

The commerce ministry said in a statement that it “regretted the ruling” and was “deeply concerned about the potential negative impact” of the decision.

It added that China would “carefully research the dispute settlement panel’s report and appeal at an appropriate time to protect the Chinese industries’ legal rights and interests”.

In 2009, US President Barack Obama invoked a safeguard clause in China’s WTO accession agreement to impose punitive duties on imports of Chinese tyres over three years.

That prompted China to lodge a complaint with the global trade watchdog.

However, the WTO’s panel of arbitrators rejected all of China’s arguments in its 128-page ruling on Monday, saying “the United States did not fail to comply with its obligations” in imposing the measure.

The tyre dispute ignited the first trade spat of Obama’s presidency between the United States and China, with complaints from the US side that the Chinese tyre industry had cost more than 5,000 US jobs.

The two economic powerhouses have since sparred over a range of products from chicken meat to steel pipes to the distribution of US films, books and movies.

The Chinese ministry said Tuesday the US move was “a trade protectionist measure aimed at reducing domestic political pressures,” insisting it was not in line with WTO rules, according to the statement.

“The safeguard measure is not in China’s interests, nor is it in the interests of the United States,” it said.

“The employment rate in the US tyre industry slumped rather than increased ever since the implementation of the safeguard measure,” it said.

The number of jobs in the US tyre manufacturing industry fell by 10 percent in the first five months of the year from the same period last year, it added, citing US figures.

The Chinese ministry said the safeguard measure had only led the US to import tyres from elsewhere, not to produce more at home.

US imports of tyres similar to the Chinese exports soared by 21 percent in the first six months of the year while prices increased by 30 percent, it said.

“The safeguard measure has led to a sharp decline in Chinese tyre exports to the United States. The United States shifted to expand imports from other countries,” the ministry said.
Source: AFP

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