World Trade Organization

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China Using Government Muscle to Turbo Charge its Auto Industry

Having already supplanted the United States as the world's largest auto market, China is on the fast track to becoming the global leader in hybrid and electric cars.

General Motors and Chrysler were forced into bankruptcy largely because they failed to pursue more fuel-efficient models. Indeed, GM and Chrysler looked wholly unprepared as gas prices soared over $4.00 a gallon in 2008.

As GM emerges from bankruptcy - having been bailed out by the U.S. government - it will put a renewed focus on alternative energy. Unfortunately, it's too late to make a difference. As U.S. car companies sputtered amid the country's economic collapse, carmakers in China raced ahead. And with billions of dollars in government backing, they are the companies that will set the pace for the global auto market.

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EADS Gets a Shot at Boeing's Market Share After Europe Accuses United States of Protectionism

Airbus SAS parent the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) said yesterday (Tuesday) that it intends to compete against The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) for a $35 billion U.S. military refueling tanker contract, continuing a ten-year battle recently plagued by protectionism claims.

This is the third act in a drama that Boeing Commercial Airplane CEO Jim Albaugh refers to as "the longest-running soap opera since 'Days of Our Lives.'"

EADS dropped out of the bidding six weeks ago when its partner in the deal, Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC), claimed the Pentagon's contract proposal had been drawn up to favor Boeing. But the Pentagon agreed to extend the bidding deadline from May 10 to July 9 after European officials claimed the situation reeked of trade protectionism.

EADS tried to find another U.S. company to pair with, but instead was forced to enter a solo bid with the help of American subcontractors. EADS said it felt compelled not to give up because its A330-based tanker is a better fit for the job than Boeing's 767-based tanker.

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Will Taiwan Arms Sale Ground Boeing?

Roughly $400 billion in revenue would be a heavy price to pay for selling 12 missiles to Taiwan, but that potentially is what The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) is facing as China continues to fume over U.S. arms sales to the renegade island. The Obama administration last week approved a $6.4 billion weapons deal with Taiwan. The deal, which was brokered by the administration of George W. Bush in 2001, included UH-60 Black Hawk military helicopters and additional Patriot PAC-3 missile defenses, but not additional F-16 jets, which the government deemed "too provocative." The sale infuriated China, which considers Taiwan its territory. Beijing has vowed to unify the region peacefully if possible and forcefully if necessary, but the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act obligates the United States to "provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character." That makes Taiwan the most sensitive issue in bilateral relations between the two nations.

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China Fuming Over the Latest U.S. Trade Complaint

There has been a spate of trade tiffs over the past few months, but relations appeared to be on the mend after a high-level meeting between trade officials at the Chinese city of Hangzhou. Now, as President Obama prepares to make his first official trip to China, tempers are again flaring.

The United States, Europe, and Mexico have asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to arrange a dispute settlement panel to investigate Chinese restrictions on exports of certain industrial metals. The WTO complaint claims that Chinese restrictions on exports such as bauxite and magnesium are driving up the prices of steel, aluminum, and chemical products.

"China's restrictions on raw materials continue to distort competition and increase global prices, making conditions for our companies even more difficult in this economic climate," said Catherine Ashton, the European Union's (EU) trade commissioner. Beijing applies an export duty of as high as 15% on some of its materials. However, China's Ministry of Commerce contends that those duties are in place to protect the environment by increasing the cost of extraction. The ministry also disputed Ashton's claim that such taxes are making it harder for Western companies to emerge from the recession.

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Steel Pipe Probe Could Escalate U.S.-China Trade Feud

The U.S. Commerce Department has launched an investigation into seamless steel pipe imports from China in a move that could fuel a feud over trade relations. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that it accepted a petition filed last month asking for the probe by United States Steel Corp (NYSE: X), V&M Star LP, TMK IPSCO […]

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Here's Why the U.S.-China Tire Tiff Could Lead to Great Depression II

When U.S. President Barack Obama late Friday (Sept. 11) signed an order that imposed an additional duty of 35% on tires imported from China, it set up the potential for an old-fashioned trade war. Currently, global trade is down only 20%. During normal times, worldwide commerce would recover on its own. But as most investors […]

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