US China tariffs ‘inconsistent’ with trade rules says WTO

US China tariffs 'inconsistent' with trade rules says WTO
Chinese officials welcomed the WTO ruling. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that tariffs the US imposed on Chinese goods in 2018, triggering a trade war between the two countries, were “inconsistent” with international trade rules.

The WTO said the United States did not provide evidence that its claims of China’s unfair technology theft and state aid justified the border taxes.

Chinese officials welcomed the WTO ruling.

But the US said the ruling showed that the WTO was “completely inadequate” to the task of confronting China.

America’s top trade negotiator, ambassador Robert Lighthizer, said the US “must be allowed to defend itself against unfair trade practices”.

He said: “This panel report confirms what the Trump Administration has been saying for four years: The WTO is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices.”

“Although the panel did not dispute the extensive evidence submitted by the US of intellectual property theft by China, its decision shows that the WTO provides no remedy for such misconduct.”

In 2018, China brought the case to the WTO, as the White House started preparing the first rounds of tariffs on what would eventually become more than $300bn worth of products. The complaint challenged tariffs enacted in June and September of 2018 on goods estimated at more than $200bn in annual trade.

The United States said the duties were a response to China’s state-sanctioned technology theft, subsidies and other “unfair practices” and allowed under 1970s-era trade rules.

But Beijing said the taxes violated trade regulations because they were higher than US commitments and targeted only one country.

A panel of World Trade Organization experts agreed with those claims. The WTO added that the US had not proved its case that the tariffs were justified on moral grounds because it did not show how the products affected by the duties had benefited from the unfair practices.

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