Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the American government had lodge a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization that China violated several free trade agreements. Specifically, the Obama administration points to duties imposed on American auto imports into China amounting to over $3 billion. The U.S. believes China levied the tariffs after the Obama administration assisted U.S. automakers General Motors and Chrysler from bankruptcy in 2008-2009. The Chinese may have also implemented the tariffs in a “tit for tat” in response to U.S. imposed tariffs on Chinese-made tire products back in 2009.
Regardless, the spat between the two countries has escalated. Says Ron Kirk, the United States trade representative, “As we have made clear, the Obama administration will continue to fight to ensure that China does not misuse its trade laws and violate its international trade commitments to block exports of American-made products. American auto workers and manufacturers deserve a level playing field and we are taking every step necessary to stand up for them.”
China, for its response, has so far been mild. “Sino-U.S. trade cooperation is beneficial to both countries, and as the two countries trade, it would be hard to avoid some friction and differences,” said Liu Weimin, a China Foreign Ministry spokesman. “The important thing is that both sides act in ways that mutually benefit, show mutual understanding and allow mutual coordination.”
Automotive.com’s take: There’s no immediate effect on car buyers here in the U.S. However, does knowing China’s levying taxes on U.S. products affect your buying habits here in the states? Will you still buy Chinese cars once they arrive—and they will arrive—here? As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.