Japan files complaint against China over steel duties: WTO

Japan has filed a complaint against China for imposing duties on steel tube imports which Beijing claims were being sold at prices below market levels, the World Trade Organization said on Thursday.

Japan had on Thursday requested "consultations with China concerning China's measures imposing anti-dumping duties on high performance stainless steel seamless tubes from Japan," the UN's trade body said.

Japan charged that the duties violated international agreements, in the latest volley in a slew of trade rows between China and its key trade partners that have seen tit-for-tat duties put on a range of goods.

China announced the new duties -- ranging from 9.2 to 14.4 percent -- last month on imports both from Japan and the European Union of steel tube mainly used in industrial boilers.

Beijing insisted the duties were needed since it claimed the imports were being sold at below market prices and causing "substantive harm" to Chinese industry.

China, the world's top exporter, is also at loggerheads with its main trade partners, Japan, the United States and the EU, over sales of automobiles, rare earth minerals and solar cells.

In international trade disputes through the WTO member states must, as Japan did Thursday, always start by requesting bilateral "consultations", which usually last 60 days.

If at the end of the discussions the dispute has not been settled, the complaining party can request the creation of a panel of experts to study the matter. The countries are required to act in accordance with the panel's conclusions.

The whole procedure usually takes several months.

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