The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the United States in a trade dispute with China. The body has found US punitive duties slapped on some Chinese imports 'inconsistent' with global trade rules.
A WTO dispute panel on Monday supported a Chinese complaint against US punitive tariffs slapped on a range of products, including paper, steel, tires, magnets, chemicals, kitchen fittings, flooring and wind turbines.
The WTO ruled that these punitive measures were inconsistent with the trade body's rules and had "nullified or impaired benefits accruing to China."
"We recommend that the United States bring its measures into conformity with its obligations," said the panel, which is made up of independent trade and legal experts.
In 2012, China lodged the complaint over the measures with the World Trade Organization. The United States had hit the Asian country with extra import duties, claiming those goods were being dumped on the US market to help Chinese companies win market share.
China's Ministry of Commerce hailed the ruling, noting that the annual export value of the products in question was about $7.2 billion (5.2 billion euros).
"China urges the United States to respect the WTO rulings and correct its wrong doings of abusively using trade remedy measures, and to ensure an environment of fair competition for the Chinese enterprises," a statement issued by Chinese WTO trade diplomats said.
In a similar case, the WTO also ruled on Monday that US extra duties imposed on some steel products from India must be changed. They, too, were inconsistent with US treaty obligations, the panel said.
Trade disputes are rife at the WTO, with members having the right to impose extra duties when goods are sold below market prices. However, the countries have to prove that the duties are not deployed to protect domestic producers from foreign competitors. WTO dispute settlements can last for years. Washington now has the right to appeal against the ruling, which was the first in this specific case.
uhe/nk (AFP, AP)