WTO authorises Chinese tariffs on $3.6b in US goods

China had asked the WTO for permission to hit the US with more than $7 billion in tariffs in the case

Afp November 03, 2019
PHOTO: Reuters

GENEVA: A World Trade Organisation (WTO) arbitrator on Friday authorised China to slap tariffs on US imports worth up to $3.58 billion annually in a years-long dispute over US anti-dumping practices, a trade official said.

China had asked the WTO for permission to hit the US with more than $7 billion in tariffs in the case.

But the WTO ruling said it had determined that the illegal US anti-dumping practices had caused “nullification or impairment of benefits accruing to China” to the tune of $3,579.128 million and that Beijing could impose tariffs on goods not exceeding that amount per year. The decision marks the first time the WTO has authorised China to impose tariffs in a trade dispute.

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Washington voiced disappointment with the decision, with a US trade official stressing the continued commitment “to using anti-dumping duties to address injurious dumping” and arguing that the ruling “has no foundation in economic analysis”.

“Moreover, we do not believe the arbitrator’s decision will have any impact on continuing trade discussions between the United States and China,” the official said, adding that the US government would discuss with stakeholders “on how to move forward”.

Beijing still needs to formally request the right to impose that or a lesser sum in tariffs but it would take opposition from every WTO member to block such a request.

China initially filed its case against the United States back in December 2013, taking issue with the way Washington assesses whether exports have been “dumped” at unfairly low prices onto the US market.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2019.

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