The Two-Way
6:31 am
Mon September 17, 2012

White House Launching Trade Complaints Against China

Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 11:10 am

"The White House Monday will demand through a world trade panel that China stop subsidizing auto parts made for export," reports Cleveland's Plain Dealer.

The Associated Press, which has followed the Plain Dealer's scoop with reporting of its own, says that Obama will use "the power of incumbency to counter Republican Mitt Romney's criticism that he is ceding American jobs to the Asian power."

According to the wire service:

"Senior administration officials said the president will announce the new case, targeting Chinese subsidies for exports of automobiles and automobile parts, Monday during a campaign trip to Ohio. The swing state has a large manufacturing base where many blame China for depressing its industry."

Also citing "senior administration officials," the Plain Dealer says that the administration will make the case to the World Trade Organization that China "undercuts manufacturers in Ohio and elsewhere by reducing the cost of Chinese auto parts" and that the practice also "encourages U.S. companies to outsource jobs."

The Plain Dealer also writes that in a separate action, the administration will ask the WTO "to step up a review of what the White House says are unfair duties that China levies on American-made cars."

Update at 1:05 p.m. ET. China Files Its Own Complaint, Obama And Romney Trade Charges:

"Beijing fired back with a complaint against U.S. duties on many Chinese exports, in the latest sign of trade tension between the world's two largest economies," the AP reports. "China's countercomplaint filed on Monday potentially affects close to 30 products that have previously been targeted by U.S. duties, a trade official familiar with the case said. In a brief statement, the WTO said the products included steel, tires, magnets, chemicals, kitchen appliances, wood flooring and wind towers."

Meanwhile, the wire service writes:

"Obama told thousands gathered at a pavilion in Cincinnati's leafy Eden Park that Romney made money from companies that outsourced jobs to China while running the private equity firm Bain Capital. The crowd jeered. Obama responded, 'Don't boo. Vote!'

" 'You can't stand up to China when all you've done is send them our jobs,' Obama said. 'You can talk a good game. But I like to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. And my experience has been waking up every single day doing everything I can to make sure that American workers get a fair shot in the global economy.'

"Romney responded in a statement accusing Obama of ignoring China for too long. The Republican promised to act from his first day in office to help U.S. businesses compete.

" 'Campaign-season trade cases may sound good on the stump, but it is too little, too late for American businesses and middle class families,' Romney said. 'President Obama's credibility on this issue has long since vanished.' "

Update at 10:05 a.m. ET. China Must "Live Up To Its International Obligations."

In a statement sent to reporters a short time ago, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk confirms the U.S. is seeking "dispute settlement consultations with the Government of China at the World Trade Organization" and says that:

"China expressly agreed to eliminate all export subsidies when it joined the WTO in 2001. China benefits from international trade rules and must in turn live up to its international obligations."

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