The U.S. accused China Thursday of illegally dumping aluminum on the world market at artificially low prices to boost its aluminum industry at the expense of U.S. competitors.
The Obama administration, in its waning days before President-elect Donald Trump takes office next week, alleged that Beijing is providing cheap loans and illegal subsidies for low-priced raw materials to its aluminum manufacturers to undercut the price of the metal on the world market.
"China gives its aluminum industry an unfair advantage," President Barack Obama said in announcing the complaint it had filed against China at the World Trade Organization. "These kinds of policies have disadvantaged American manufacturers and contributed to the global glut in aluminum, steel and other sectors.
"America succeeds when our workers and businesses have a fair shot to compete in the global economy. That's why when other countries cut corners and break the rules on trade, my administration stands up for strong trade enforcement."
Washington has won all 16 trade dispute cases it has brought against China, which U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said illustrates the outgoing administration's commitment to U.S. workers. It is unclear exactly what tack Trump and his trade officials will take, however, on the latest standoff with China and other disputes.
At his news conference Wednesday, Trump on a related issue continued to assail U.S. trade deals, much as he did during his lengthy run for a four-year term in the White House. He said China has "has taken total advantage of us economically."
"Our trade deals are a disaster," the president-elect said. "We have hundreds of billions of dollars of losses on a yearly basis. Hundreds of billions with China on trade and trade imbalance, with Japan, with Mexico, with just about everybody. We don't make good deals anymore."