WTO Says China Can Impose Sanctions On $3.5B Worth Of US Goods

November 1, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The World Trade Organization said Friday that China can place new trade sanctions on $3.5 billion of U.S. goods in retaliation for U.S. restrictions on Chinese furniture, steel products and solar panels.

The award by an arbitration panel with the Geneva-based organization is the latest development in a trade war that has been ongoing for over a year now.

However, Friday’s decision stems from a case that started long before the Trump administration began placing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods, and retaliatory measures imposed by Beijing.

China went to the WTO in 2012 to challenge U.S. anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese exports including solar panels, wind towers, steel cylinders and aluminum extrusions.

At the time it said its complaint covered an annual $7.3 billion in exports to the United States.

In December 2014, China won a partial victory when the WTO held the U.S. duties on solar panels violated trade rules.

A WTO appellate body found that the U.S. Department of Commerce acted “inconsistently” with rules that govern the trade group’s 160 members.

In March 2018, just before the current trade war began, the WTO held the U.S. did not fully comply with a 2014 ruling against its anti-subsidy tariffs on a range of Chinese products, setting the stage for Friday’s decision.

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