Barack Obama, the American president, has spurred a trade dispute with China over an increase in duties on Chinese-made tyres.
Obama signed an order last Friday adding an additional 35% in duties to be paid on imports of the tyres from September 26. This will fall to 30% in its second year and 25% in its third.
The move was seen as an attempt to protect American workers from job losses resulting from an influx of cheaper Chinese goods.
The Chinese government responded angrily to the measures accusing the American government of a “grave act of protectionism”.
Chen Deming, China’s minister of commerce, accused the Obama administration of violating World Trade Organisation rules and reneging on anti-protectionist commitments made at the G20 financial summit.
Since the announcement fears have been voiced in the press that China could introduce retaliatory measures. The Chinese News Service reported that Fan Rende, the president of the China Rubber Industry Association, will propose the government look at measures against American agricultural products and motor vehicles.