World Bulletin / News Desk
China said it has been made a victim of U.S. electoral politics after Washington launched an international trade case alleging that Beijing has been unfairly subsidising automobile and auto parts exports.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced the World Trade Organization (WTO) case against China over allegedly illegal subsidies for automobiles and auto parts during an election campaign stop in Ohio on Monday.
At around the same time, Beijing filed a complaint against U.S. duties on many Chinese exports, in the latest example of tit-for-tat trade disputes filed between the world's two largest economies.
In its first official comment on the complaint, issued on Tuesday evening, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce was unusually blunt in blaming the case on the race for the White House.
"In the midst of an election race, the United States chose to announce this news in Ohio, an automobile production area, showing that the U.S. took this step against China out of considerations of electoral politics," an unidentified Chinese commerce official said on the ministry's website.
"We express our opposition to this," said the official, adding that China would deal with the U.S. request for consultations in keeping with WTO rules.
This year, the United States has also pursued anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases against Chinese-made solar panels and wind turbine towers in response to industry petitions.
Obama's latest trade enforcement steps come as he and Republican rival Mitt Romney vie for a few important states, including the auto manufacturing state of Ohio, that could determine the outcome of the Nov. 6 presidential election.
U.S. steelworkers and other union groups had pushed for action at the WTO to stop what they said was a flood of unfairly subsidised Chinese auto parts.
Republicans, including Romney, who has accused Obama of not being tough enough with Beijing, cast the move by the Democratic White House as a blatant effort to sway votes in an election battleground state.
Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the WTO case filing number on China's complaint showed it preceded the U.S. complaint, suggesting it was Washington playing tit-for-tat with trade policy, not Beijing.
"Looking at the sequential order of the two case numbers, we can clearly see the United States' political goal," Shen said.
Analysts said that while the downturn in the headline readings was disappointing, the economy continued to put in a strong performance.
Crude prices stabilised after diving more than two percent on Tuesday on increasing fears of a global supply glut, as continued production in the US and elsewhere offsets an OPEC output cut deal.
Move estimated to save company $1B in investment costs
However, most other regional markets struggled after Monday's healthy gains, despite being given a positive lead from Wall Street where the Dow and S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs.
The purchase in one fell swoop gives Amazon, which until now has operated almost entirely on the internet, a big presence in the brick-and-mortar world on Main Street, with more than 450 stores in the US, Canada and Britain.
"The Bank of Russia Board of Directors decided to cut the key rate to 9.00 percent per annum," the bank said in a statement. The cut follows a half-point decrease in late April.
Equity traders have suffered a fraught week as the crisis engulfing Donald Trump picks up pace, technology firms tumbled from recent highs and energy plays were hammered by plunging oil prices.
"In May 2017, passenger car registrations across the EU increased by 7.6 percent to 1.387 million units," ACEA said in a statement.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index climbed 0.4 percent to 12,746.05 points, and the Paris CAC 40 gained 0.5 percent to 5,243.53 compared with the close on Thursday.
Eastern Mediterranean gas deposits discussed at high-level meeting in Thessaloniki
While a "rebalancing of the market" was "underway," it was "at a slower pace than originally anticipated," the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries wrote in its latest monthly oil market report.