China to tax US car imports

A mechanic works on a Buick at a General Motors (GM) dealership in Shanghai on Dec. 6, 2011.</p>

A mechanic works on a Buick at a General Motors (GM) dealership in Shanghai on Dec. 6, 2011.

China will levy anti-dumping taxes of up to 22 percent on American car imports, potentially making US-made cars prohibitively expensive in this country.

The surprise announcement late Wednesday from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said China is implementing anti-dumping duties on US car imports into China, based on brand and country of origin. American car makers will take the biggest hit. The slap with be difficult for US car companies, which have looked with optimism at China, the world's fastest-growing automotive market. And they could spur companies like General Motors to ramp up production at their Chinese plants. Buick is already the top-selling car in China. The Commerce Ministry said in a statement on it's website that the duties are in response to government subsidies to the US auto industry.

Top American lawmakers on Wednesday called the plan "unjustifiable."