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China slaps GM with $29 million fine amid growing tensions

NEW YORK — China slapped a $29 million fine on General Motors for antitrust violations, a sign of the growing tensions between the United States and the Asian nation.

The largest US automaker is accused of setting minimum prices on some models in its SAIC General Motors joint venture. The Shanghai Municipal Development & Reform Commission, which imposed the fine, alleged in a statement that GM punished dealers who sold cars for less than the prices set by the Detroit-based automaker. This is the first time China has fined GM, the second-largest foreign carmaker in China by sales.

China-US relations have become strained after President-elect Donald Trump proposed tariffs on Chinese goods, questioned the One-China policy regarding Taiwan, and accused the Asian nation of stealing an American naval drone in international waters in the South China Sea.


A Communist Party newspaper in November said a ‘‘tit for tat’’ retaliation could follow proposals by Trump for tariffs on the world’s largest trading nation, which had $627 billion in US trade in 2015.

‘‘GM fully respects local laws and regulations wherever we operate,’’ Irene Shen, a company spokeswoman, said in a text message referring to the penalty. ‘‘We will provide full support to our joint venture in China to ensure that all responsive and appropriate actions are taken with respect to this matter.’’

Last year, China fined Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz unit $56 million for monopolistic pricing practices. In 2014, the government penalized Volkswagen AG and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV for similar practices as well as a dozen parts makers. The auto component suppliers were fined $200 million collectively.