White House to go to WTO Monday, says China undercutting auto-part makers

Cleveland Plain Dealer

WASHINGTON – The White House Monday will demand through a world trade panel that China stop subsidizing auto parts made for export, arguing the practice undercuts manufacturers in Ohio and elsewhere by reducing the cost of Chinese auto parts and encourages U.S. companies to outsource jobs, senior administration officials said.

While President Barack Obama travels to Columbus and Cincinnati Monday for campaign appearances, his administration also will ask the World Trade Organization, or WTO, to step up a review of what the White House says are unfair duties that China levies on American-made cars. The case is technically separate from the auto parts case but the administration says it presents another example of China's trade-policy abuse.

Senior administration officials say they began looking at Chinese abuses in auto parts after Obama formed the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center in March to more aggressively review trade violations. Officials who discussed these matters with The Plain Dealer on the condition that they not be named, since new cases had not been officially filed, are not members of Obama’s reelection team. But the timing of Monday's announcement is certain to take on political tones, cheered by auto- and steel-maker unions and Democrats while likely denounced as political theater by Republicans.

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White House to go to WTO Monday, says China undercutting auto-part makers »