'Blind accusations' fueling US steel pipe tariffs

BEIJING: Beijing has dismissed Washington's charges of steel pipe dumping and subsidies as "blind accusations", state media reported Sunday, as tensions mount ahead of President Barack Obama's visit next month.

The commerce ministry repeated last month's warning that it strongly opposed US moves to start investigations into Chinese-made steel pipes, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

However, like a similar statement a month ago, the ministry made no mention of any new actions China would take in response to the US move.

"Blind accusations of dumping or subsidies in Chinese imports lacks factual basis," the statement said, adding "China strongly opposes" the US moves.

Obama is due to visit China on November 15-18 for his first visit as president to Beijing and the booming metropolis of Shanghai and a third set of talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Trade tensions between the two powers have persisted despite Hu's visit to the United States last month to attend a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 major economies.

While Hu was at the summit, Chinese officials played down trade disputes with the US, saying they were focused on long term relations.

China vowed to investigate US chicken imports on September 13 after Obama's administration slapped steep tariffs on imported Chinese tyres.

Washington said last month it had made a preliminary decision to impose duties of as much as 31 percent on Chinese carbon or alloy tubular steel products used in oil and gas wells, following claims they were subsidised.

From 2006 to 2008, imports of such pipes officially known as oil country tubular goods from China increased 203 percent by volume, according to China's commerce ministry. They were valued at 2.6 billion dollars last year.