September 14, 2009

Report: Obama shocked world

U.S. President Barack Obama, going along with unions in slapping tariffs on Chinese tires, is eating his own words, China's Xinhua news agency said.

As Beijing mounted its retaliation against the U.S. decision to slap duties of up to 35 percent on imported Chinese tires, the state-run news agency, in a commentary quoting media reports, said Obama obeyed the steelworkers' union because he desperately needed to win domestic support to walk out of the current difficult time in pushing forward new policies.

The commentary said whether Obama will achieve his goal remains uncertain but America's image as a free-trade leader has undoubtedly been tarnished.

By giving green light to the (steelworkers') petition, Obama is eating his own words as well, Xinhua said.

Obama's decision on the tariffs was based on the U.S. International Trade Commission's conclusion that a surge in Chinese-made tires had cost thousands of U.S. jobs.

Separately, Xinhua quoted Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan as acknowledging the final U.S. duties, however, were lower than the maximum of 55 percent recommended by the USITC.

Retaliating against the U.S. tariffs, China has launched its own anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigation into U.S. automotive and chicken imports. China also has complained to the World Trade Organization.

The Xinhua commentary said Obama's decision had shocked the world because of general expectations that the president would reject the tariff petition which bears clear trade protectionism color.