A week after President Obama decided to slap a 35 percent tariff on imported Chinese tires, China's refusal to respond in kind has prompted BusinessWeek's Frederik Balfour to wonder whether Chinese President Hu Jintao is "less protectionist than Obama."

Chinese President Hu Jintao can afford to take the moral high ground on protectionism when he sits down with President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York today. Instead of responding with a tit-for-tat action ... Beijing merely launched an “investigation” of possible trade violations over chickens and auto parts with the W.T.O.
While Balfour warns that Beijing could still choose to retaliate--by, for instance, slowing its purchase of U.S. Treasury bonds--he argues that the U.S. and China should focus instead on re-balancing their economies.