China has said it is willing to engage in negotiations following European Union (EU) and U.S. complaints that it is unfairly blocking foreign-made auto parts.
The EU and U.S. announced in late March they had lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the issue. This grievance enabled them to call for dispute settlement consultations with China.
China's reply appears to have come within the 10 days it had under WTO rules to answer the request for talks. According to the same rules, consultations must start within 30 days. If a resolution is not found within 60 days, the parties can request a WTO panel to rule in the dispute.
U.S. and EU officials object to what appears to be domestic content requirements for autos made in China, with tariffs on certain imported parts.
President Bush has said China's trade practices would be high on the agenda he meets with the Chinese president this month.