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WASHINGTON -- President Obama has slapped punitive tariffs on all car and light truck tires entering the United States from China in a decision that could anger the strategically important Asian powerhouse but placate union supporters important to his health care push at home.
Obama had until Sept. 17 -- next week -- to accept, reject or modify a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling that a rising tide of Chinese tires into the U.S. hurts American producers. A powerful union, United Steelworkers, blames the increase for the loss of thousands of American jobs.
China on Thursday condemned a US decision to slap tariffs on steel pipes from the mainland, as US President Barack Obama mulled whether to also curb tire imports from the Asian giant.
The twin disputes are a litmus test for Obama's trade policy with Beijing, and are coming to the forefront ahead of his highly anticipated first presidential visit to China set for November.