(Editor’s Note: At a time when the US needs China to finance its debt, are we setting a proper precedent by imposing tariffs on tires? Think of the other industries which might put their hand out in similar fashion to the TARP fiasco’s earlier this year.)
The Obama administration will put steep import duties on Chinese passenger and light truck tires, responding to what the U.S. International Trade Commission determined to be a surge of Chinese tire exports that has rocked the domestic U.S. tire industry and displaced thousands of jobs, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced Friday night.
China's government responded quickly to the announcement, saying in a statement that it "strongly opposes" what it called "a serious act of trade protectionism." China "reserves the right to make further response," the Ministry of Commerce statement said.
The U.S. announcement of 35% import tariffs, which would decline to 30% in the second year and 25% in the third, comes at a sensitive time. The heads of state of the 20 largest economies arrive in Pittsburgh in less than two weeks for a summit of the Group of 20, amid rising trade tensions and looming economic disputes. The United States needs China to help float a U.S. deficit expected to reach $1.56 trillion this year. President Barack Obama is also likely to seek new sanctions against Iran to combat its nuclear program, and China's vote on the United Nations Security Council is pivotal.