China launched an anti-dumping probe on Friday into chemical imports from the European Union and United States, the government said, amid heightened trade tensions between the giant economies.
Beijing’s commerce ministry said it has started investigating whether EU and US firms were selling perchlorethylene at below cost - a tactic to win market share and eliminate competitors - after complaints from domestic companies.
Perchlorethylene, also called tetrachloroethylene, is a colourless fluid widely used in dry cleaning.
It is the second such anti-dumping procedure by China against European and US industries in less than a month, after it launched an investigation into companies making unwelded pipes.
Trade relations between China and the EU have been strained by disputes over solar panels and telecom equipment.
European Union member states are due to vote on June 5 on whether to impose a heavy 47 per cent tariff on solar panels made by China, the EU’s second-largest trading partner.
The EU is also planning to investigate Chinese manufacturers of telecom equipment such as Huawei and ZTE.
The United States has already imposed punitive tariffs on some Chinese solar panel makers to offset the impact of their alleged unfair competitive advantages.