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WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Thursday launched a new complaint against Chinese aluminum subsidies at the World Trade Organization, accusing Beijing of "artificially" expanding its global market share through cheap state-directed loans and subsidized energy.
The complaint, which seeks consultations with Beijing over the matter, will likely add to rising trade tensions between the world's two largest economies as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office next week with pledges to reduce U.S. trade deficits with China as a top priority.
The U.S. Trade Representative's office said the complaint claims that China's actions in the aluminum sector violate WTO rules prohibiting subsidies that cause "serious prejudice" to other members of the trade body.
The complaint argues that "artificially cheap" state-directed loans and coal, electricity and alumina for the Chinese aluminum sector causes such prejudice by undercutting global prices and artificially expanding China's market share. (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)