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President Obama signaled a new direction in America's trade policies by deciding to enforce the ITC's recommendation to impose tariffs on Chinese tire imports.

NY Times: U.S. Adds Punitive Tariffs on Chinese Tires

In a break with the trade policies of his predecessor, President Obama announced on Friday night that he would impose a 35 percent tariff on automobile and light-truck tires imported from China.

. . . The decision signals the first time that the United States has invoked a special safeguard provision that was part of its agreement to support China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Under that safeguard provision, American companies or workers harmed by imports from China can ask the government for protection simply by demonstrating that American producers have suffered a “market disruption” or a “surge” in imports from China.

Wash. Post: U.S. to Impose Tariff on Tires From China,

In one of his first major decisions on trade policy, President Obama opted Friday to impose a tariff on tires from China, a move that fulfills his campaign promise to "crack down" on imports that unfairly undermine American workers but risks angering the nation's second-largest trading partner.

. . . The tire tariff will amount to 35 percent the first year, 30 percent the second and 25 percent the third.

Although a federal trade panel had recommended higher levies -- of 55, 45 and 35 percent, respectively -- the decision is considered a victory for the United Steelworkers union, which filed the trade complaint.

"The president sent the message that we expect others to live by the rules, just as we do," Leo W. Gerard, president of the union, said Friday night.

Meanwhile Fox news leads their story with the Chinese viewpoint rather than the American, China Slams U.S. Tariffs on Tires as 'Serious Act of Trade Protectionism',

The new tariffs set a bad precedent in light of the global economic crisis and China reserves the right to react, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian said according to a statement on the ministry Web site. (emphasis in original)

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