China investigates US auto, chicken imports

Commerce Ministry to look into complaints that the American products are being dumped into the Chinese market or are benefiting from subsidies.

China is launching antidumping investigations into imported US auto and chicken products, the government said Sunday, adding to a string of trade disputes with Washington including a recent decision to raise tariffs on Chinese-made tires. The Commerce Ministry said it would look into complaints that American auto and chicken products are being dumped into the Chinese market or are benefiting from subsidies. The ministry said there are concerns the US imports have "dealt a blow to domestic industries." The ministry statement did not elaborate on the complaints or how the investigation would proceed. Washington and Beijing have recently traded accusations of protectionism, which they agree will hurt efforts to end the global economic crisis. The US and China, the world's largest and third-largest economies, have been engaged in a series of battles over access to each other's markets for goods such as tires, steel pipe, music and movies. President Barack Obama on Friday approved new tariffs on all car and light truck tires coming into the US from China, a move Beijing condemned as protectionist and a violation of global trade rules. The Commerce Ministry's statement said China remained firmly opposed to protectionism. "Since the financial crisis, China's actions have proven this point," it said. "China is willing to work with countries around the world to act together to promote the quick recovery of the world economy." China and the US banned each others' poultry in 2004 following an outbreak of bird flu in Asia. But China lifted the ban after a few months and has complained that Washington refused to do the same. Since then, China has imported more than 4 million tons of US poultry - mostly feet and other parts that are popular in China but not elsewhere. The World Trade Organization launched an investigation of the US ban on Chinese poultry at the end of July. Beijing told the WTO's dispute settlement body that Washington had imposed protectionist measures in completely banning Chinese chicken products entering the US market. The United States said it was still examining whether Chinese poultry was safe for human consumption. Last month, China said it revised its tariffs on imported auto parts after losing an appeal of a WTO ruling against its policy of requiring foreign automakers to buy more than 40 percent of the components used in any China-made vehicle from local suppliers or pay more than double the usual tariff on imported parts. Beijing's revision was such that all imported auto parts will be taxed at the same rate regardless of the percentage of foreign-made parts used to make a vehicle. China argued that the higher tariffs were needed to prevent automakers from evading steep vehicle import duties by importing cars in large chunks. The US, the 27-nation EU and Canada contended that the tariffs encouraged car parts companies to shift production to China, costing Americans, Canadians and Europeans their jobs.