WASHINGTON -- China filed a World Trade Organization complaint Monday challenging U.S. anti-dumping measures on billions of dollars in goods as trade tensions escalated between the two economic superpowers.
The move came as the Obama administration said Monday it was complaining to the WTO that China was illegally subsidizing exports of automobiles and auto parts.
President Obama was set to announce the move while campaigning in Ohio, a key battleground in the November election and a state that has a large auto industry. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for not being tougher on China, which Romney said has been "cheating" on trade rules.
The WTO said China's complaint covered a wide range of products that China exports to the U.S, including kitchen appliances, paper, steel, tires, magnets, chemicals, wood flooring and wind towers.
China estimated that the exports were worth about $7.2 billion, the Associated Press reported. The complaint stems from new powers granted to U.S. officials by Congress to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods believed to be exports to the U.S. at a subsidized cost.
A spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce said the new U.S. duties put "Chinese enterprises in an uncertain legal environment, in violation of the relevant rules of the WTO transparency and due process." the AP said.
Both the Chinese anti-dumping complaint, as well as the U.S. auto export complaint, request WTO-led consultations between the two countries to resolve the dispute. If there is no resolution after 60 days, the nation filing the complaint can ask that it be adjudicated by a WTO panel.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said it was reviewing China's request for consultations. But she said the law passed by Congress that clarified U.S. trade measures was "fully consistent with U.S. WTO obligations, as are the countervailing duty measures China has identified in its request for consultations."
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