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China wants to preserve US ties despite auto complaint to World Trade Organization

BEIJING — China’s government said Friday it will “properly handle” a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization about its anti-dumping duties on auto imports and doesn’t want the latest in a string of trade disputes to harm relations.
“It is normal for frictions to occur,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, at a regular briefing. “What is important is to properly handle it and not to let it impede friendly relations.”
The U.S. complaint Thursday adds to a series of disputes with Beijing over market access for goods ranging from poultry to steel. Political tensions over trade are mounting as governments try to boost exports at a time of slumping global demand.
Washington accused Beijing of improperly imposing anti-dumping duties on American-made autos worth $3 billion. The Chinese duties of 2 to 21.5 percent affect cars and SUVs with engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger.
A Commerce Ministry statement said Beijing will “properly handle the request for consultations under the WTO dispute settlement procedures” — the first step in resolving a complaint.
If consultations fail to resolve the issue, Washington can request a WTO dispute panel. A ruling can take 18 months to two years.
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