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China Voice: Latest U.S. protectionism sets dangerous precedent

(Xinhua)

08:31, March 09, 2012

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- When the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to ensure the government can impose punitive countervailing duties on imports from non-market economy (NME) countries,it sets a dangerous precedent for the world.

The House on Tuesday voted 370 to 39 to pass the measure and sent it to President Barack Obama for his signature before it can become law. The Senate approved the legislation one day earlier.

The speedy congressional action came after a federal court ruled in December that the Department of Commerce did not have the legal authority to impose such duties on goods from NME countries such as China and Vietnam.

The House and the Senate acted soon after the hearing to introduce a bill to remedy the Tariff Act of 1930 and overturn the federal court decision.

Accusing other governments of trade subsidies and resorting to protectionist measures have been old tricks by which the U.S. has made scapegoats of others for domestic woes, but kidnapping a law to justify the practice seems a new tactic.

The problem is the legislation, however just Washington wants to pose it, is inconsistent with WTO rules and even American laws. It will not make sense but only offer insight into the self-interest of the United States.

The self-interest has a history. Back in 2009, when the global financial crisis hit the world worst, President Obama endorsed the "Buy American" provision, implying the prime objective for the United States was to secure its national interests rather than riding through the hardships with the rest of the world.

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