WTO gives Beijing $ 645 million in tariff weapons against the United States News of the trade war

The World Trade Organization said China could retaliate against US annual exports worth $ 645 million as part of a decade-long trade dispute over US anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese goods.

from Bloomberg

The World Trade Organization provided Beijing with new tariff weapons against the United States during a politically sensitive moment for the Biden administration – almost a year after a weak truce in the trade war between the two largest economies.

On Wednesday, a WTO arbitrator in Geneva said China could retaliate against $ 645 million in annual US exports as part of a decade-long trade dispute over US anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese goods. The amount was much less than the $ 2.4 billion that China had originally asked for legal powers to target.

Although $ 645 million pales in comparison to China’s $ 110 billion in tariffs on US goods during the Trump administration, it still provides Beijing with a new irritant to put pressure on President Joe Biden as he seeks to quell inflationary winds before the by-elections. .

The Biden administration may try to repeal China’s WTO-approved tariffs, but to do so it must reconsider US countervailing duties, which would increase competition for key US manufacturing sectors such as steel and aluminum.

Beijing may now seek formal WTO authorization for revenge against US goods and services, which could be granted next month.

Disappointment in the United States

Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the US Trade Representative, said the decision was “deeply disappointing” and “reflects the Appellate Body’s misinterpretations that undermine WTO members’ ability to protect our workers and businesses from Chinese trade-distorting subsidies.”

“Today’s decision reinforces the need to reform WTO rules and settle disputes that have been used to protect China’s non-market economic practices and undermine fair, market-oriented competition,” Hodge said in an e-mail statement.

The dispute dates back to 2012, when China complained that the United States had imposed illegal countervailing duties on about a dozen Chinese imports, including thermal paper, pipes, citric acid, lawn mowers, kitchen shelves, magnesium bricks, printed graphics, solar panels, wind towers and steel sinks.

The WTO has repeatedly ruled against the United States in the dispute, and has since found that Washington has failed to withdraw its illegal countervailing duties in a timely manner.

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