World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy said Wednesday that he was concerned about the latest move by the Obama administration to restrict import of Chinese-made tyres.
"It's certainly a matter of concern," Lamy told reporters in Geneva.
"Both the United States and China are members of the G20, and the G20 has taken this stance that they shouldn't have recourse to trade restrictive measures during the crisis," he said.
According to the WTO director-general, the U.S. move could increase the risk of a "tit-for-tat spillover."
"Anything that increases the risk of spillover trade restrictive measures is a matter of concern for me," he added.
U.S. President Barack Obama decided last week to impose punitive tariffs up to 35 percent on all car and light truck tires from China in a so-called attempt to "remedy the clear disruption to the U.S. tire industry."
China had denounced the U.S. move as a "serious act of trade protectionism" and it had filed a complaint to the WTO.
Lamy declined to comment on whether the U.S. special safeguard measure against China violates WTO rules, but said that the WTO's dispute settlement system can finally make the judgment.