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The Obama administration has filed an unfair trade complaint against China with the World Trade Organization for imposing duties on U.S. auto imports:
China in December imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on certain SUVs, claiming that U.S. taxpayer support of the two automakers amounted to a government subsidy that was illegal under WTO rules. The Obama Administration disputes that claim.

The duties cover more than 80 percent of U.S. auto exports to China, or about 92,000 vehicles. They add 15 percent to the price of an imported Jeep Wrangler or Detroit-made Jeep Grand Cherokee, 21.8 percent to a Buick Enclave and Cadillac CTS produced in Lansing, and 4.1 percent to an Acura TL sedan made by Honda of America Manufacturing Co. at Marysville, Ohio.

According to the Toledo Blade, if the dispute is not settled within 60 days, the U.S. can request a WTO dispute settlement panel. Less than a month ago, the U.S. won a judgment that China had imposed illegal tariffs on American steel. But these aren't the only ways the Obama administration is seeking to protect American manufacturing jobs by curbing China's duties on American products and subsidies of its own products. Additionally:
It has brought trade actions against imports of Chinese passenger-vehicle and light-truck tires. And the United States has brought actions against China's export restraints on rare earth minerals used in manufacturing, restrictions on electronic payment services, and subsidies to China's wind power equipment sector.

In May, the administration moved to place a 31 percent tariff on solar panels made in China, saying Chinese producers had dumped solar cells and panels in the United States for less than it cost to manufacture and ship them. The Toledo area is a center for research into, and manufacturing of, solar panels.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has on the one hand criticized President Obama for being insufficiently tough on China, and, on the other hand, wrote in his 2010 book No Apologies that "President Obama’s action to defend American tire companies from foreign competition may make good politics by repaying unions for their support of his campaign, but it is decidedly bad for the nation and our workers." However Romney thinks the U.S. should deal with China itself on any given day, though, his basic jobs creation plan as president would be to make the U.S. more like China.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent news, Laura Clawson. (14+ / 0-)

    Now if the Justice Department would announce arrest of banksters it would really make my day!

    How did the Supreme Court decision on ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of ... they're not waiting, but working now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

    by divineorder on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 10:08:36 AM PDT

  •  If we are going to have trade, (12+ / 0-)

    it needs to be fair.   Glad to hear that he is going after China.  The US is nothing without manufacturing except a giant casino for the banksters.

    "bin Laden's dead, and GM is alive" ~ Biden

    by dkmich on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 10:12:32 AM PDT

    •  The free trade that the banksters (0+ / 0-)

      wanted and funded was never meant to be fair.

      It was meant to produce profits by destroying the middle-class wages/benefits of American manufacturing workers.

      And the unions that made those wages/benefits possible.

      A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

      by devtob on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:09:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  another WTO suit in the works... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      U.S. considers auto parts action against China
      June 15, 2012

      Early this year as the U.S. presidential election approached, the United Steelworkers union and related groups began pressing President Barack Obama to take steps to stop what they described as a flood of auto parts imports from China.

      They have asked the Obama administration to consider either filing a WTO case against alleged Chinese government subsidies or to launch a Commerce Department investigation that could lead to U.S. anti-dumping or countervailing duties on a variety of Chinese auto parts.

      That was followed by a letter from 188 members of Congress, included many from Midwest industrial states like Ohio and Michigan, which are expected to be important in Obama's bid to win re-election in November.

      The lawmakers accused China of using "a vast array of policies" to give its auto parts producers an unfair trade advantage. They said it was critical the United States act quickly because auto parts manufacturers account for 75 percent of jobs in the U.S. automotive sectors.

      I remember hearing about this and it is big stuff... from engines to drive trains... which would have a big impact on US manufacturing of those parts.

  •  But that's different (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's OK for us to give tax dollars to Republican millionaires so they can make 8 MPG SUV's when gas goes up to $5 a gallon.

    But it's not OK for China to subsidize their industries.  That's different.

  •  I didn't realize we were protecting the solar cell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    A mixed bag, I guess, but on whole that's good news.

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:39:43 AM PDT

  •  US Auto sales highest in 5 years. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    July 3 (Reuters) - U.S. new auto sales in June raced past expectations on lower gas prices and still-generous incentives, and are on track to score their best year since 2007.

    The surprisingly strong June in which sales rose 22 percent from a year ago helped ease fears that weaker-than-expected results in May would suggest a slowdown in demand.

    June's annualized sales rate of 14.1 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp, beat analysts' average estimate of 13.9 million.

    Before the U.S. economy sank into recession, annual auto sales tallied 16.1 million in 2007. They plunged to 13.2 million in 2008 and a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009, before beginning a slow recovery. Last year, U.S. auto sales totaled 12.8 million.

    Shares of General Motors Co jumped more than 6 percent on Tuesday as the No. 1 U.S. auto maker posted a 16 percent increase in vehicle sales from the previous year and said June was its best performing month since September 2008. Sales by Ford Motor Co, the second-largest U.S. automaker, climbed 7 percent and its shares rose 3 percent.
  •  Hmm... my parents are pretty worried... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and not happy with the Obama administration over their saber-rattling towards China, and the "war games" the U.S. is doing with countries that surround China.  Seems we're trying to intimidate them?  Which would seem be a pretty stupid thing to do when they hold so much of our debt.  But we're doing it.

  •  Wait wait...Romney is taking both sides of this? (4+ / 0-)


    ad astra per alia porci

    by harrije on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:28:47 PM PDT

  •  Mitt Romney haz a sad (4+ / 0-)

    Free Image Hosting at

    He was supposed to be the one going after the red menace of China.

  •  A Jeep as expensive as a Bentley (0+ / 0-)

    In terms of a real dollar figure as per Maddow.

    Not blaming Bush for the mess we're in, is like not blaming a train engineer for a fatal train wreck because he's no longer driving the train.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:29:11 PM PDT

  •  rachel maddow did a great piece on this tonight. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    thank you for this, laura.

    continue keeping these issues front and center.

    Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:54:49 PM PDT

  •  Huh. I guess I don't agree with Obama here. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Taxing SUVs seems like a good thing to me. I doubt that China's motivations are environmental or climate-related in this situation, but, any port in a storm. I mean, should we really be pushing these all over the world? Should we also cheer on American exports like cigarettes and fast food?

    And cheaper solar panels from China would be great for Americans looking to move away from coal and natural gas as sources of electricity. If cheaper panels can move more people to install them, then we still get a big win on jobs when installers have to hire more workers.

    This feels really short sighted. Trade with China is here to stay, so how can we all benefit?

    •  On further thought (0+ / 0-)

      I think we're right to defend our auto trade. Governments should have the right to intervene and rescue industries within their borders, without it being considered as an ongoing subsidy. The two situations are clearly different.

      But on solar panels, it's in our best interests to get as many panels as we can, as cheaply as possible, and ramp up solar installations as quickly as we can.

      •  The problem is a double standard is applied (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steve Simitzis

        China is a socialist country and the major commercial banks are state run, as they have been since inception. When a Chinese solar company gets a loan from such a bank, it then becomes "evidence" of state favoritism and state subsidies in US trade cases, as do the labor rates in Thailand (that does not produce solar cells, ironically) as a measure of a "Fair" labor rate.

        The solar cell case was based on very shaky ground and will be challenged in the WTO where it is likely to be over-turned, but let's see what happens.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:54:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If you want to lock up Michigan (and Ohio and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Indiana and...), you might as well throw away the key while you're at it.  This is a great move, and not on a lot of people's radar as a possibility - which means that Mitt doesn't have a canned response.  He knew Marriage Equality would be out there, and he knew he'd probably get bit in the ass on immigration issues.  But this... this is a damn smart move by Obama.  It works on a lot of different levels, and Mitt is vulnerable on all of them.

  •  We should do the same (0+ / 0-)

    The U.S. ought to impose duties on Chinese imports.

    Except we can't. China is subsidizing all of our debt and we can't afford to piss them off.

    Our trade deficit is the #1 most pressing problem for the United States. The debt can be repaid, but if we don't turn the trade deficit around we'll never be able to repay the debt.

    We need to eliminate our oil imports, which would offset our trade imbalance (each amounts to about $500 Billion). After that we could impose tariffs on Chinese imports and not suffer for it.

    Obama has been working for the next generation. The GOP has been working for the next election.

    by bondibox on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:09:59 PM PDT

    •  What? (0+ / 0-)

      You need to do a bit more research, the case in question was largely see as a tit-for-tat duty based on previous actions by the US.

      Search "International Trade Commission, US Government" and "US Import Tariffs".

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:57:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a fair tit-for-tat (0+ / 0-)

        The Chinese argument is to impose a 15% duty because the US gave money to Detroit at a time when the prime rate was 3.5%.

        It's a lousy argument, even if the math was even.

        But really, our country has to address our importation addiction as the #1 economic problem.

        Obama has been working for the next generation. The GOP has been working for the next election.

        by bondibox on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:11:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which followed exactly (0+ / 0-)

          The reasoning of several US tariffs that preceded it.

          Again, if you research the recent history of tariffs applied by the US on Chinese products and Chinese on US products since China joined the WTO you will see a pattern of the US leaning on these actions.

          Personally, I think tit-for-tat is pretty pointless, and that the correct way to deal with these cases is to take them to the WTO, which China will do with the Solar tariff case - I see no way around it and welcome this to be challenged in the WTO, where it should be, since the basis of it is ridiculous and the rate of tariff so draconian that even the parties that pressed the case to the ITC were surprised at the outcome.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 12:04:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The US loses this in WTO and all government (0+ / 0-)

    support of business under any economic circumstance becomes illegal in international trade.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

    by OHdog on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:12:28 PM PDT

  •  And the Fox headline reads: (0+ / 0-)

    "Obama continues socialist policies in GM-China flap"
    ... just sayin'

    The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

    by Memory Corrupted on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:26:02 AM PDT

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