U.S. wins WTO trade dispute with China over cars, auto components, report says

U.S. trade officials have said duties cover more than 80 percent of U.S. auto exports to China and disproportionately fall on GM and Chrysler.

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- The World Trade Organization has ruled in favor of the United States in a dispute with China involving cars and auto parts, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The United States in 2012 lodged a complaint with the Geneva-based WTO challenging Chinese duties on auto imports from the United States. A separate U.S. complaint that year said China unfairly subsidized its auto and auto parts manufacturers.

U.S. trade officials have said duties cover more than 80 percent of U.S. auto exports to China and disproportionately fall on General Motors and Chrysler.

The United States is set to announce the victory Friday in Washington. Officials from the Chinese Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

President Barack Obama's administration this week dramatically escalated its trade battle with China, accusing five military leaders of stealing corporate secrets. The indictments are on top of complaints over issues such as tires, chicken parts, rare-earth minerals and credit-card payment services. Since 2009, the U.S. has filed 17 cases against China at the WTO, according to the U.S Trade Representative’s office.

The automobile issue has drawn recent attention. The United States in July 2012 filed a WTO complaint seeking to offset Chinese duties on more than $3 billion worth of auto imports from the United States. The Beijing government had alleged that the U.S. industry gained an unfair edge in trade by using government subsidies and selling the goods in China below their value, a practice known as dumping.

Two months later, the U.S. government filed the second WTO case against China alleging the Beijing government subsidized its own auto and auto-parts makers in violation of global trade rules.

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