WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government has requested dispute settlement consultations with China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding China's subsidies to automobiles, a senior trade official announced here Monday.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the federal government was challenging China's extensive subsidies to auto and auto-parts producers located in designated regions, known as "export bases," that meet export performance requirements.
He claimed in a statement that China's subsidies provide an unfair advantage to auto and auto-parts manufacturers located in China over U.S. producers.
Consultations are the first step for a WTO dispute. Under WTO rules, if parties do not resolve a matter through consultations within 60 days, complaints may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel.
This is the latest trade enforcement action by the United States against China. In recent years, the Obama Administration has initiated a series of trade actions over China's wind power equipment, industrial raw materials and so on.
Separately, the United States on Monday also requested the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel to address China's imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on American cars. The two parties failed in consultations at the WTO on the matter earlier this year.
Experts noted that Obama's combined trade actions, aiming for election votes, are bald-faced and short-sighted trade protectionism and would hurt China-U.S. economic and trade relationship.
For its part, the Chinese government has repeatedly urged the United States to abide by its commitment against protectionism and maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.
On Monday, China requested to negotiate with the United States over countervailing duties levied by Washington against Chinese tyres within the trade dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO.
"Through consultations within the WTO trade dispute settlement mechanism, the Chinese side hopes the U.S. can correct its wrong-doing and properly deal with concerns from China," said Shen Danyang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.