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China blasts US trade probe, starts own
( 2003-12-18 11:13) (Agencies)

China on Wednesday criticized a U.S. anti-dumping probe of its furniture exports and said it was launching its own investigation of imports from the United States and elsewhere of a chemical used in water treatment.

The moves by Beijing come amid a series of U.S. actions to restrict Chinese imports.

The Commerce Ministry in a statement on its Web site that the U.S. probe of Chinese furniture trade would "definitely exert a negative impact" on trade relations.

Antidumping probes are generally aimed at determining if a country is selling a product outside its borders at prices below the cost of making them in hopes of capturing market share.

Ministry spokesman Chong Quan said the probe violates U.S. law and World Trade Organization rules. It is the biggest antidumping probe ever conducted by Washington into Chinese imports and could affect trade worth $1 billion a year.

"It is hoped that the United States could face up to the simple fact of China's development of a market economy," Chong said in a statement.

The Chinese investigation will cover imports of the chemical hydrazine hydrate from the United States, Japan, South Korea and France, the ministry Web site.

The ministry did not explain its decision to investigate imports of hydrazine hydrate, a colorless liquid used to make medicines, dyes, farm chemicals and other products.

Washington has angered Beijing by imposing quotas on Chinese textiles and threatened antidumping duties on Chinese-made television sets.

On Monday, a U.S. trade panel urged President Bush to impose a quota on imports of pipe fittings, with 50 percent tariffs levied on imports above that level. The panel ruled that rising imports of the pipe fittings were disrupting U.S. suppliers.

The United States bought about 25,000 tons of pipe fittings from China last year, and the tariff would apply to about 11,000 tons of that.

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