July 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM ET
The United States took aim against practices it says allows China to unfairly discriminate against U.S. automakers in one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.
The U.S. filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization for imposing duties on more than $3 billion worth of U.S.-made autos.
President Barack Obama said the complaint was intended to hold China accountable for actions that harmed U.S.-automakers, which have been one of the bright spots recently in an otherwise lackluster recovery.
"Americans aren't afraid to compete," Obama said in a campaign appearance in Ohio. "As long as we're competing on a fair playing field instead of an unfair playing field, we're going to do just fine. We're going to make sure that competition is fair."
Ohio is an important election battleground state where auto plants have been affected by the duties.
The president's re-election campaign has sought to tie his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, to the outsourcing of American jobs to China, tapping into public worry over high U.S. unemployment that will be a key factor in the November 6 ballot.
The U.S. filing with the WTO was a "request for consultation" that allows the two sides to meet, discuss a dispute and perhaps find a solution before it gets to litigation.
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