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Montevideo, June 23rd 2021 - 02:27 UTC



US tariffs on Chinese goods breach trade rules, says WTO; Trump suggests he will abandon the organization

Wednesday, September 16th 2020 - 07:50 UTC
Full article 21 comments
The Trump administration says tariffs imposed on more than US$ 200 billion in Chinese goods were justified because China was stealing intellectual property The Trump administration says tariffs imposed on more than US$ 200 billion in Chinese goods were justified because China was stealing intellectual property

The World Trade Organization found on Tuesday that the United States breached global trading rules by imposing multibillion-dollar tariffs in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, a ruling that drew anger from Washington.

The Trump administration says its tariffs imposed two years ago on more than US$ 200 billion in Chinese goods were justified because China was stealing intellectual property and forcing U.S. companies to transfer technology for access to China’s markets.

But the WTO’s three-member panel said the U.S. duties broke trading rules because they applied only to China and were above maximum rates agreed to by the United States. Washington had not then adequately explained why its measures were a justified exception, the panel concluded.

“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,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in response.

China’s Commerce Ministry said Beijing supported the multilateral trading system and respected WTO rules and rulings, and hoped Washington would do the same.

The decision will have little immediate effect on the U.S. tariffs and is just the start of a legal process that could take years to play out, ultimately leading to the WTO approving retaliatory measures if it is upheld - moves that China has already taken on its own.

The United States is likely to appeal Tuesday’s ruling. That would put the case into a legal void, however, because Washington has already blocked the appointment of judges to the WTO’s appellate body, preventing it from convening the minimum number required to hear cases.

The WTO panel was aware it was stepping into hot water. It noted that it had looked only into the U.S. measures and not China’s retaliation, which Washington has not challenged at the WTO.

“The panel is very much aware of the wider context in which the WTO system currently operates, which is one reflecting a range of unprecedented global trade tensions,” the 66-page report concluded.

The panel recommended the United States bring its measures “into conformity with its obligations”, but also encouraged the two sides to work to resolve the overall dispute.

“Time is available for the parties to take stock as proceedings evolve and further consider opportunities for mutually agreed and satisfactory solutions,” it said.

As he left the White House for a campaign rally, Trump said he would “have to do something about the WTO because they’ve let China get away with murder.”

He said he needed to take a closer look at the ruling, but added: “I’m not a big fan of the WTO - that I can tell you right now. Maybe they did us a big favor.”

The decision could help fuel a Trump decision to leave the WTO or underpin U.S. arguments for reforming the 25-year-old trade body, said Margaret Cekuta, a former USTR official who helped write a crucial report on China’s intellectual property abuses that preceded Trump’s tariffs.


Top Comments

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  • imoyaro

    It's always funny when Gauchito Drink reminds us about his string of failed relationships with women. I guess it never occurred to him that women look for a man, not a rumsponge.
    Chuckle chuckle chuckle...

    Sep 17th, 2020 - 02:08 pm +2
  • Chicureo

    Estimado THINK

    Yes, but I've improved the genetics of my children by marrying to a far superior class above mine.

    Again, we share a rare moment where we both agree!

    As you know, on the 18th we'll again here preform one of the most ridiculous national dances in the civilized world.

    Nothing like the sensuous beautiful Tango that originated in the whorehouses of Buenos Aires...

    Even we “wetback-beaner-brown-mestizo-mongrel-chicureanos” here in Chile admire the vast superior Argentine Tango...


    (By the way, Madame preforms your national dance elegantly!)

    Sep 16th, 2020 - 05:02 pm +1
  • Tarquin Fin

    That was one classy answer Chicureo.

    Hey there Think, I'm mestizo and gorilla , should I feel superior just because I'm Argentinian?

    Sep 16th, 2020 - 11:12 pm +1
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