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US broke WTO rules with duties on Chinese steel and solar panels

World Trade Organization judges said that the United States broke WTO rules in imposing hefty duties on Chinese steel products, solar panels and a range of other goods that Washington argues enjoyed government subsidies.

Trade diplomats said that the two cases, both under scrutiny for nearly two years by the separate panels, reflected a widespread concern in the 160 member WTO over what many see as illegal protection by the US of its own producers.

In the USD 7.2 billion Chinese case, the panel found that Washington had overstepped the mark in justifying the so called countervailing duties it imposed as a response to alleged subsidies to exporting firms by China’s government.

Under the 1964 Marrakesh accords, which also set up the WTO, these duties can only be levied when there is clear evidence that state owned or partially state-owned enterprises passing on the subsidies are public bodies.

The panel found that Washington had produced insufficient evidence for this and was also at fault in its calculations of the value of the subsidies to Chinese firms producing items like kitchen shelving, grass cutters and even citric acid.

And it told the United States it should adapt its measures to bring them into line with the WTO’s agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures, dubbed the SCM in trade jargon.

China urges the United States to respect the WTO rulings and correct its wrongdoings of abusively using trade remedy measures, and to ensure an environment of fair competition for Chinese enterprises.

Source – SCMP


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