GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States has called on China to improve its compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) anti-dumping rules, diplomats said on Tuesday.
The call, at a meeting of the WTO’s committee on anti-dumping practices, included an irritable exchange that was a further sign of tension between the two countries.
China’s export juggernaut is the most frequent subject of anti-dumping investigations, with 36 measures aimed at its exports in the second half of 2006, against seven for the second-most targeted country, Indonesia.
But China itself is an active user of the instrument, which allows a country to impose duties on imports that are being sold, or dumped, in its market at below the cost of production.
It launched seven investigations in the second half of last year, behind the European Union, with 17, India, Argentina, Brazil and Malaysia.
Countries invoking anti-dumping measures must review them after five years to assess whether they should be extended.
The United States said several measures by China, which joined the WTO in 2001, against U.S. imports were facing expiry and should be reviewed in line with WTO agreements.
China has 16 anti-dumping measures in force against the United States, mainly involving chemicals.
The meeting heard several questions to China about its anti-dumping regime, as part of a transitional review of the country. China is the only new WTO member to undergo annual reviews of this kind and has refused to give full answers to some questions in similar sessions.
China said that given this was its sixth annual review, members should have a clear picture of its anti-dumping regime. It stressed it had made tremendous efforts to make it consistent with the WTO.
Irritations arose when China refused to repeat an oral answer to a U.S. question on the steps it was taking to provide greater transparency in anti-dumping proceedings. Washington complained this was regrettable as the answer was read too fast.
Trade tensions between the two countries have flared up this year, fuelled by China’s big trade surplus, and the United States has launched WTO disputes against China over car parts, tax subsidies, copyright and piracy and the sale of films, music and books.
China is pursuing a WTO case against the United States over anti-dumping measures against imports of Chinese paper.