China has right to impose tariffs on US$645 million of US products, says WTO
- The World Trade Organization authorised Beijing to impose the compensatory tariffs against America following a decade-long case centred on alleged subsidies
- China went to the WTO in 2012 to challenge anti-subsidy tariffs the US imposed between 2008 and 2012 on 22 Chinese products from solar panels to steel wire
The World Trade Organization (WTO) authorised China on Wednesday to impose US$645 million of compensatory tariffs against the United States in a ruling likely to receive a cool reception in Washington.
China went to the WTO in 2012 to challenge anti-subsidy tariffs the United States imposed between 2008 and 2012, mainly during the term of US President Barack Obama, on 22 Chinese products ranging from solar panels to steel wire.
The decade-long case into alleged subsidies has centred on whether the United States could treat Chinese companies in which the government owns a majority stake as controlled by the state.
US officials have argued that China benefits from easier treatment at the WTO, while subsidising manufactured goods and dumping them on world markets.
China had initially asked the three-person WTO panel to award it the right to impose tariffs on US$2.4 billion of US goods.
The actual award is dwarfed by US tariffs on more than US$300 billion of Chinese goods imposed by former US President Donald Trump, most of which are still in place.
However, it is another symbolic victory for Beijing at the Geneva-based trade body. In November 2019, the WTO awarded China the right to retaliatory tariffs of US$3.58 billion after finding fault with the way Washington determined if Chinese products are being dumped on the US market.
China joined the World Trade Organization 22 years ago. In less than a decade, the nation’s exports grew by six times while its imports almost five-fold. Today, it is the world’s largest economy as measured by purchasing power parity and second-largest at market exchange rates. It is the largest trading partner with 120 countries, including the US.
Additional reporting by South China Morning Post.