China says US trade complaints 'groundless'

BEIJING: Beijing on Thursday accused Washington of launching baseless actions targeting Chinese imports, as trade tensions simmer between the global giants one month before US President Barack Obama's visit.

"The US launched a large number of trade remedy measures (against China) this year," commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters.

"Quite a few such measures were groundless and wrong."

China has been the target of 88 trade actions by 19 countries this year -- including 16 by Washington alone, Yao said.

The total value of the cases was 10.2 billion dollars, with the US accounting for 57 percent of that sum, Yao added.

Yao said China would "formally discuss" the cases with the United States at the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade to be held later this month in the eastern city of Hangzhou.

"The abuse of trade remedy measures will only worsen the already hard trade environment," he said. "We are firmly opposed to those groundless cases."

Trade tensions between the economic powers have intensified in recent weeks, with both sides taking action against the other's imports.

Obama ignited the first major trade spat of his presidency last month after he imposed punitive duties on Chinese-made tyres.

An angry Beijing lodged a complaint at the World Trade Organization and retaliated by launching a probe into possible unfair trade practices involving imports of US car products and chicken meat.

Beijing charged that Washington's move violated WTO rules but Obama has denied that it amounted to protectionism.

Last week, the United States launched a probe on whether to slap almost 100 percent tariffs on steel pipes imported from China.

Obama is due to make his first presidential visit to China on November 15-18. He will visit Shanghai and Beijing, where he will hold a third set of talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.