WTO faults US over Trump’s China tariffs

Published September 16, 2020
A panel of experts set up by WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body ruled the tariffs “inconsistent” with global trade rules.
A panel of experts set up by WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body ruled the tariffs “inconsistent” with global trade rules.

GENEVA: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Tuesday upheld a complaint by China over additional duties slapped by the Trump administration on some $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, sparking outrage in Washington.

A panel of experts set up by WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body ruled the tariffs “inconsistent” with global trade rules, and recommended that the United States “bring its measures into conformity with its obligations”.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer slammed the decision, saying it proved the WTO, which has long faced searing US criticism, “is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices.”

“The Trump Administration will not let China use the WTO to take advantage of American workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers,” he said in a statement.

Chines state media Global Times meanwhile hailed Tuesday’s ruling and said in a tweet it hoped the US would respect it and “take pragmatic actions to meet China and other WTO members halfway to enable a stable and healthy development of the global economy.”

The panel was created in January last year to review US President Donald Trump’s decision to hit China with tariffs on a quarter of a trillion dollars’ worth of goods.

The tariffs imposed in 2018 marked the beginning of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

In 72-page report on Tuesday, the panel however said that Washington had “not met its burden of demonstrating that its measures were provisionally justified” under international trade rules.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020

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