The United States on Wednesday launched a legal challenge to Chinese export subsidies supporting billions of dollars of exports across a wide swathe of industries from steel to shrimp.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Chinese companies in designated export hubs benefited from free or subsidized services, cash grants and other incentives which gave their products an unfair advantage.
The request for consultations, lodged on Wednesday, is the first step in a World Trade Organization dispute. The administration has also been trying to convince lawmakers, in particular Democrats, to support a new 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade deal and a bill to streamline Congressional passage of trade deals.
"We are equally committed to the decisive, effective enforcement of our trade rights," Froman told a news conference, flanked by seven members of Congress, six of them Democrats.
USTR estimates suppliers of subsidized services to Chinese export hub companies received more than $1 billion (£656.5 million) from the Chinese government over three years and said some companies received at least $635,000 in support annually.