US and China exchange fire over duties

Beijing and Washington both filed trade complaints against each other yesterday in a tit-for-tat exchange after the US launched a case against China's unfair support for its car industry.

The two cases could shift the focus to President Barack Obama's management of the sometimes contentious US relationship with China and his support for the US car industry in the final weeks before a close presidential election.

Beijing's complaint to the World Trade Organisation about a new US law allowing duties on subsidised goods from China came a few hours after the White House said it would launch a trade complaint over what it says is China's unfair backing of its car industry.

In March, the House of Representatives voted to ensure the US could impose duties on subsidised goods from China and Vietnam, a move the White House said was needed to protect American jobs.