China has asked for talks with the United States on the tire tariff issue in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Monday.
The U.S. government's decision to impose special tariffs on tire imports from China violated WTO rules and was an abuse of trade remedy measures, MOC spokesman Yao Jian said.
"China's requirement for talks with the U.S. is proper practice to exercise its rights as a WTO member and is a practical move to defend its own interests," Yao said.
When the U.S. decision takes effect on Sept. 26, car and light truck tires imported from China will suffer punitive tariffs of 35 percent, 30 percent and 25 percent respectively during the next three years.
"Although the duties the U.S. has decided to impose are lower than those recommended by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), it is still a serious case of trade protectionism, which China resolutely opposes," said Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan.
The ITC recommended U.S. President Barack Obama impose a 55-percent tariff on Chinese tire imports, 45 percent in the second year and 35 percent in the third before being removed.
The Chinese government would take positive steps to assist domestic tire makers to overcome difficulties, Zhong said.
The government would also encourage and assist tire producers to optimize the structure of their exports and develop high-end products through technological progress, he said.
Following the U.S. decision, shares of China's tire makers plunged Monday. Shares of the Double Coin Holdings Ltd. fell by the daily limit of 10 percent to 19.01 yuan (2.78 U.S. dollars). Guizhou Tyre Co. lost 6.68 percent to finish at 14.95 yuan and Aeolus Tyre Co. sank 3.31 percent to 12.84 yuan.
(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2009)