China says it is investigating alleged dumping of U.S. auto and chicken products in the Chinese market, a possible step toward imposing tariffs on these goods. The move comes after the U.S. government imposed tariffs on some Chinese products.
China's Commerce Ministry says it is looking into accusations from local producers that American auto and chicken meat products are being dumped in China at below-cost prices.
A spokesman from China's Commerce Ministry says the investigation will proceed according to China's laws and the rules of the World Trade Organization.
The spokesman denies allegations the anti-dumping investigation is protectionist or is retaliation for a U.S. decision to impose a new tariff on Chinese tires.
President Barack Obama announced a three-year tariff of 35 percent on Chinese-made tires last week, days after the U.S. also imposed tariffs on steel tubes from China.
The Ministry of Commerce says China "strongly opposes" the tire tariff. The tariff has spurred a wave of anti-American Internet postings in China, with calls for Beijing to stop buying U.S. bonds.
Many in the United States are also critical of the tire tariff, with some worried it will hurt American consumers. Chinese tires make up 17 percent of the market, and most are lower-end tires that retailers may have a hard time buying elsewhere.
President Obama cited a jump in Chinese imports when he announced the tariff. The announcement comes as he looks for support from organized labor for his administration's proposed health-care plan. Unions have argued that Chinese tire imports cost American jobs.
Many political analysts say that close cooperation between Beijing and Washington in issues ranging from the global economic slowdown to North Korea's nuclear arms make it unlikely the two countries will engage in a punitive trade war.
However, trade tensions could be raised at the G-20 meeting of the world's largest economies in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh next week. Both Mr. Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend.