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'US actions against China not driven by politics'

March 14, 2012 09:28 IST

The recent US actions, targetting trade practices of China, are not driven by the upcoming presidential polls, Obama administration has said.

The steps against China's trade policies are not driven by the upcoming presidential elections in November, given the Republican leaders are criticising Obama's China policy, the administration said on Wednesday.

"It was announced today because the time was appropriate to announce this new trade case. And this trade case that we've taken up at the World Trade Organisation against China on the issue of rare earth materials is consistent with the approach this President has taken since he took office," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, said.

Obama signed a legislation on Wednesday to enforce US trade rights with China and level the playing field for American businesses and workers. He also warned Beijing against its alleged unfair export restrictions on rare earths.

Carney said such allegations against the US president were ridiculously absurd.

"We have taken cases against China to the World Trade Organisation at a pace nearly double that of the previous administration. That begins going back to the early months of 2009, when we took the case on Chinese tires and won it.

"The result has been that a thousand Americans have had help in ensuring that they kept their jobs because of that action," he said.

"Do you feel you have to emphasise the President's record because of Republican criticism about it?" Carney was asked.

"Well, no, because guess you could say that we've been doing that for three years because of anticipating criticism about it," he said. "The fact is we've been at this for three years because it's the right thing to do. We made that clear on the President's trip to Asia not long ago, late last year.

"And he has made it clear, and this administration has made it clear from the very beginning, from early 2009, again, citing that very early case at the WTO against China,"  he observed, adding that this is an ongoing effort.

"The fact that it takes place on a day when there are Republican primaries -- competitive Republican primaries, I mean, throw some spaghetti at a calendar and find a day when there isn't a competitive Republican primary.

"And it's possible that could be the case for many weeks going forward, I don't know," he said."I don't know one way or the other whether this came up in any of the conversations that the Vice President of China had with the President and the Vice President here," he said responding to a question.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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