China launches WTO challenge over US anti-subsidy tariffs

China filed a complaint at the World Trade Organisation on Monday to challenge a new US law on “countervailing duties”, or tariffs intended to combat export-promoting subsidies.

The complaint, filed hours after the United States said it would launch a wide-ranging trade complaint against China’s support for car exports, potentially affects close to 30 products that have previously been targeted by US duties, a trade official familiar with the case said.

He said the complaint was aimed at a US law passed in March which allowed the United States to apply countervailing measures to Chinese exports retrospectively.

Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said China hoped the United States could “correct its mistaken policy and appropriately resolve China’s concerns”.

“China has, under various circumstances, repeatedly reiterated that it resolutely opposes the abuse of trade remedy regulations, opposes trade protectionism, and will staunchly exercise its WTO-member rights to protect the legal rights of its domestic industry,” Shen said.

In a brief statement on the initial filing by China, the WTO said the products included steel, tyres, magnets, chemicals, kitchen appliances, wood flooring and wind towers. China will file a full complaint with more details in the next few days.

Under WTO rules, China’s filing of the complaint has set the clock ticking on a 60-day period during which the United States can try to settle the dispute in bilateral talks. After that, China could ask the WTO to adjudicate.