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Why Obama had to impose those Chinese tyre tariffs

Business Times - 16 Sep 2009


Why Obama had to impose those Chinese tyre tariffs

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

LATE last Friday night as everyone in Washington was asleep, the White House imposed 35 per cent tariffs on tyres from China. President Barack Obama and his top aides may have hoped that issuing a press release at the onset of a lazy autumn weekend would reduce the overall political impact of the decision to impose trade sanctions on the Chinese.

But the late-night announcement in Washington, which was driven by the political pressure from trade unions and other protectionist forces, ended up puncturing the image of Mr Obama as a free-trader.

It also increases the prospects for a new Sino-American trade battle at a time when the president and the Federal Reserve have been implementing expansionary fiscal and monetary policies whose costs in the form of rising deficits are being financed by the Chinese.

Indeed, after the news from the White House, officials in Beijing pu…