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U.S. seeks talks with China over duties on high-tech steel

China's Premier Li Keqiang (R) shakes hands with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (L) before their meeting at the Hall of Purple Lig
China's Premier Li Keqiang (R) shakes hands with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (L) before their meeting at the Hall of Purple Lig

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is asking China to participate in formal talks over Chinese duties on U.S. high-tech steel exports following a World Trade Organization dispute.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Monday that the United States disputed China's statement that it had brought duties on grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel (GOES) in line with WTO rules. Such steel is used in the cores of high-efficiency transformers, electric motors and generators

The United States brought the steel case in 2010 after China accused U.S. exporters of "dumping" - or selling at unfairly low prices - on the Chinese market and levied punitive duties on the steel imports. The WTO decided in favor of the United States in 2012.

"The WTO found that China's duties are inconsistent with WTO rules. We were right, and China was wrong," Froman said.

"Unfortunately, it appears that China has not corrected those inconsistencies."

Attorneys for the USTR's office said China had reduced the rate of duties, but had not complied with the WTO ruling.

The office said the action to seek consultations marked the first time the United States had initiated a WTO proceeding to challenge a claim by China that it had complied with a WTO dispute ruling.

(Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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