BEIJING (AP) — China filed a World Trade Organization case Monday challenging U.S. anti-dumping measures on billions of dollars of kitchen appliances, paper and other goods, adding to worsening trade strains as global demand weakens.
Beijing's move came shortly before the Obama administration filed its own WTO case accusing China of improperly subsidizing exports of automobiles and auto parts.
China and the U.S. have clashed over complaints about market barriers and subsidies for goods including autos, solar panels, tires, steel and chicken. Political pressures on both sides are worsening as demand for their goods cools, raising the threat of job losses in export industries.
As campaigning for the U.S. presidency intensifies ahead of a November vote, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have traded barbs on China, accusing each other of backing policies that would move American jobs overseas.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said its latest WTO complaint centers on the U.S. Congress's passage of a law this year that retroactively gave the Commerce Department power to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods. That came after a U.S. court reversed earlier duties imposed under rules covering countries such as China and Vietnam that are deemed to be "non-market economies."
"This practice puts Chinese enterprises in an uncertain legal environment, in violation of the relevant rules of the WTO transparency and due process," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement.
The ministry said U.S. measures being challenged cover 24 types of products worth $7.2 billion. It gave no details, but a statement from the WTO in Geneva said they include paper, steel, tires, magnets, chemicals, kitchen appliances, wood flooring and wind towers.
The Chinese filing Monday requests consultations to settle the dispute, the first stage in a WTO complaint. If no resolution is found after 60 days, Beijing can ask for the case to be handed over to a WTO panel for judgment. Depending on the outcome, China might be allowed to request sanctions.