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China calls for trade talks on US tire tariffs

BEIJING (AP)-Beijing filed a World Trade Organization complaint Monday over new U.S. tariffs on Chinese tires, stepping up pressure on Washington in the latest in a series of trade disputes.

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BEIJING (AP)-Beijing filed a World Trade Organization complaint Monday over new U.S. tariffs on Chinese tires, stepping up pressure on Washington in the latest in a series of trade disputes.

The conflict is a potential irritant as Washington and Beijing prepare for a summit of the Group of 20 leading economies in Pittsburgh on Sept. 24-25 to discuss efforts to end the worst global downturn since the 1930s.

The Chinese complaint to the WTO in Geneva triggers a 60-day WTO process in which the two sides are to try to resolve the dispute through negotiations. If that fails, China can request a WTO panel to investigate and rule on the case.

Beijing's unusually prompt response to Friday's tariff decision shows the urgency China attaches to maintaining exports amid slumping global demand.

President Barack Obama approved the higher duties to slow the rapid growth of U.S. imports of Chinese-made tires blamed for the loss of thousands of American jobs. Beijing criticized the move as a violation of free trade and called on other governments to oppose protectionism.

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The White House said Obama acted under a provision in the U.S.-Chinese agreement on Beijing's accession to the WTO that allows Washington to slow the rise of Chinese imports to give time to American industry to adjust.

Obama's order raised tariffs for three years on Chinese tires -- by 35 percent in the first year, 30 percent in the second and 25 percent in the third.

The United Steelworkers brought the case in April and said more than 5,000 tire workers have lost jobs since 2004 as Chinese tires flooded the U.S. market.

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