WTO: China can impose duties on 645 million dollars of American imports
The World Trade Organization has ruled in favor of Beijing in an anti-dumping dispute between the United States and China that dates back to 2012 – Copyright AFP/File Nicholas KAMM
The World Trade Organization on Wednesday handed China yet another victory, allowing it to impose duties on $645 million of US imports a year, in a longstanding anti-dumping dispute with Washington.
The United States, which cannot appeal the ruling, called it “deeply disappointing” and said it reinforced the need for reform of WTO rules, saying they were being used to ” protect” China.
“In light of the parties’ arguments and evidence in this proceeding, we have determined that the appropriate level…is $645.12 million per year,” a WTO arbitrator said.
The go-ahead from the WTO does not mean that China will automatically impose the tariffs, in whole or in part, on US imports.
The figure was revealed in an 87-page ruling by a WTO arbitrator on the level of countermeasures Beijing could seek in its dispute with Washington over US countervailing duties (CVDs) on certain Chinese products.
The dispute dates back to 2012, when the WTO set up an expert panel to try to settle a complaint by China over what it said were unfair tariffs imposed by the United States.
Washington had justified the extra tariffs on goods ranging from paper to tires and solar panels, arguing they were undervalued in the market to help Chinese companies grab business.
The WTO Dispute Settlement Body ruled in China’s favor and the ruling was upheld by its appeals judges in 2014, paving the way for retaliation from China.
Beijing initially asked to be allowed to impose tariffs on US goods worth $2.4 billion each year, but later reduced its request to $788.75 million.
The United States had argued that the appropriate level should not exceed $106 million per year.
The use of anti-dumping duties is permitted by international trade rules as long as they meet strict conditions, and disputes over their use are often brought before the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body.
Wednesday’s ruling marks the second time the WTO has allowed China to retaliate against U.S. anti-dumping duties deemed to violate international trade rules.
In November 2019, a WTO arbitrator allowed China to impose duties on up to $3.6 billion of US imports, in a separate case.
So far, China has not notified the WTO that it has implemented the retaliatory tariffs approved in this case.
– Washington fury –
Adam Hodge, spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, blasted Wednesday’s decision.
“Today’s deeply disappointing ruling by the WTO arbitrator reflects erroneous interpretations by the Appellate Body that undermine the ability of WTO members to defend our workers and businesses against Chinese subsidies. that distort trade,” he said.
“Today’s ruling reinforces the need to reform WTO rules and dispute settlement, which have been used to protect China’s non-market economic practices and undermine fair, market-oriented competition.
He said the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden would continue to use every means available to defend the interests of American workers, businesses, farmers and producers and strengthen the nation’s middle class.
Washington has long complained about the WTO’s dispute settlement system, and in particular its appeals court, claiming unfair treatment.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, crippled the system in December 2019 by blocking the appointment of new judges to the Appellate Body.