World Trade Organization allows China to sanction U.S. over Obama-era tariffs

July 17, 2019

TEHRAN- An appeals court judge at the World Trade Organization (WTO) says the United States did not fully comply with its ruling and could face Chinese sanctions if it does not remove certain tariffs that break WTO rules.

According to the trade regulator, 11 U.S. countervailing measures have violated WTO rules. It has asked Washington to rectify the irregularities.

The decision relates to a case that dates back to 2007. It follows China’s appeal to the WTO in 2012 to challenge U.S. anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese exports. These exports included solar panels, wind towers, steel cylinders and aluminum extrusions, with an estimated value of $7.3 billion at the time.

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said the WTO appellate report proves the US “repeatedly abused trade remedy measures, which seriously damaged the fairness and impartiality of the international trade environment.”

According to the MOFCOM statement, “China urges the U.S. to take concrete measures immediately to correct its wrongdoings in its anti-subsidy measures to China, and to create a fair international trade environment for companies from both countries.”

It noted that China “has always respected the multilateral trade rules, and is against any abuse of trade remedy measures.”

If China decides to bring sanctions to bear in the dispute, it would need to enter a new round of legal argument over the value of any damage to its trade.

The Trump administration blasted the WTO decision shortly after it was released, saying that the ruling “undermines WTO rules, making them less effective to counteract Chinese subsidies that are harming U.S. workers and businesses.”

Trump has warned that Washington could impose tariffs on an additional $325 billion-worth of Chinese goods if it needed to so do.

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