WTO: China illegally retaliated against US tariffs

Zippy Duvall
The Hagstrom Report

The World Trade Organization said Tuesday that China’s decision to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products including agriculture products in reaction to U.S. Section 232 actions on steel and aluminum were “inconsistent” with WTO rules.

A spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the U.S. government was “pleased” with the WTO ruling.

“China’s decision to pursue this dispute highlights its hypocrisy by both suing the United States in the WTO and at the same time unilaterally retaliating with tariffs,” the spokesman said.

“The panel rightly rejected China’s argument that the U.S. Section 232 actions are safeguard measures that may be ‘rebalanced’ under WTO rules.

“China’s use of the WTO dispute settlement system to challenge the U.S. Section 232 national security actions has caused grave systemic damage to the WTO. The WTO does not have the authority to second-guess a WTO member’s response to threats to its security, and WTO reform must ensure that issues of national security cannot be reviewed in WTO dispute settlement.

“Furthermore, the WTO has proven ineffective at addressing non-market excess capacity from China and others that is an existential threat to market-oriented steel and aluminum sectors and, through the effects on imports, a threat to U.S. national security, including by eroding U.S. steel and aluminum manufacturing capacity.

“The United States condemns China’s refusal to correct its severe and persistent non-market excess capacity for steel and aluminum that is at the heart of a global crisis that led to the U.S. Section 232 national security actions. The Biden administration is committed to standing up for U.S. workers, and all workers of market-oriented companies and industries, and creating and maintaining a fair, worker-centered trading system.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a news release, “AFBF is pleased that the WTO dispute panel ruled against China’s imposition of unjust retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products. Agricultural trade is necessary for food security around the world and should not be endangered by retaliation for unrelated concerns.”

Zippy Duvall
The Hagstrom Report
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