China has launched an anti-dumping probe into imports of a widely used plastic from the US, EU, Taiwan and Japan.

The announcement from the Ministry of Commerce that it will investigate imports of polyoxymethylene copolymer – which is used in electronics and cars – is a signal that China will hit back in its trade disputes with the US and Europe.

It comes as China’s trade rows with the US and the EU have deepened in recent months.

Less than a week ago, Washington sharply increased tariffs on Chinese goods, including electric vehicles (EVs), solar panels and computer chips.

The new US moves also expanded on sweeping border taxes that were imposed on Chinese goods under the Trump administration.

In response, China’s commerce ministry said the new moves would “severely affect the atmosphere for bilateral cooperation”, and criticised what it characterised as the politicisation of economic issues.

Ahead of the heavily-trailed White House announcement, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said it would “take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests”.

Separately on Monday, China sanctioned three American defence firms over their sales of weapons to Taiwan, state media said.

The announcement that General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, and Boeing Defense, Space & Security are barred from “import and export” business in China came as the self-ruled island inaugurated a new president.

Senior executives of all three companies are banned from entering, working or living in China, the commerce ministry said.

Meanwhile, Europe has launched a series of probes into Chinese imports.

On Friday, the EU said it would launch an investigation into Chinese tinplate steel.

And last month, Brussels said it was probing two Chinese solar panel makers, that it says benefit from government subsidies.

The European Commission (EC), which oversees the EU’s trade policies, has also given itself a 4 July deadline to decide whether to impose measures against imports of Chinese-made EVs.

Source

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