BEIJING (AP) -- China accused Washington on Thursday of abusing trade relief measures after U.S. regulators increased import duties on Chinese-made steel pipes.
"These seemingly fair trade measures in fact are abuses of trade relief measures which are intended to protect the domestic economy," said a Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian, referring to a series of recent U.S. trade cases against Chinese exporters.
"If the whole world followed the U.S. and took similar measures, what kind of picture will that be?"
The Commerce Department imposed preliminary duties of 11 to 13 percent on certain types of Chinese-made stainless steel pipes Wednesday to offset what it said were improper subsidies to manufacturers.
Yao said the number of U.S. anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Chinese goods rose by more than 50 percent last year to 23, while the value of goods affected rose by eight times to $7.6 billion.
In the steel pipe case, U.S. authorities said they acted on complaints that American producers and their employees were hurt by the Chinese imports.
The government says U.S. imports of Chinese-made seamless pipes were $382 million in 2008 and had increased 131 percent by volume since 2006.
The Commerce Department said a final determination is due May 10 and until then importers will be required to post bonds to cover the higher duties.
Associated Press researcher Bonnie Cao in Beijing contributed to this report.