U.S. challenges China auto subsidies

Outsourcing Debate

In Cincinnati, Obama accused Romney of taking part in the shift of jobs from the U.S. to China when the private-equity firm the former Massachusetts governor headed, Bain Capital LLC, took over companies.

Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement that Obama is “recycling false and debunked attacks because he can’t tell the people of Ohio about his record of fewer jobs, more debt, and lower incomes.”

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week showed Obama leading Romney 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in Ohio. The survey of 979 people had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio, which has 18 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

WTO Complaint

Today’s WTO challenge is the 15th lodged by the U.S. against China, which joined the Geneva-based trade arbiter in December 2001, and means the two governments must hold talks for at least two months in a bid to resolve the matter. If the discussions fail, the U.S. can ask WTO judges to rule.

Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, denied the administration tied the timing of the challenge to Obama’s appearance in the swing state.

“These cases are months in the making,” Earnest told reporters on Air Force One. “We’re not going to delay until next year an action” that would protect workers because of the presidential campaign.

Romney today is addressing the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles.

Before Obama’s announcement, China challenged U.S. anti- subsidy duties in its eighth WTO complaint against the nation. The challenge comes after the U.S. passed a law in March allowing the Commerce Department to apply duties on $4.7 billion of imports such as tires, steel, aluminum, paper and chemicals to offset government subsidies by nations with non-market economies such as China.

The U.S. also said it will ask WTO judges to rule on the legality of Chinese duties on American auto exports. The request, to be made at the WTO’s next Dispute Settlement Body meeting on Sept. 28, stems from the Obama administration’s July 5 complaint accusing China of imposing unfair levies on $3.3 billion of U.S. vehicle exports, mostly by GM and Chrysler. That filing came on the same day Obama began a bus tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Bloomberg News

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