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China Asks WTO for $2.4 Billion Sanctions Against US

BEIJING – China seeks $2.4 billion in retaliatory sanctions against the United States for failing to comply with a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling in a case highlighting the White House’s claims against the US world trade organization.
The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) will examine the case that dates back to the Obama era on October 28, revealed a document released Monday.
WTO appeal judges said in July that the United States had not fully complied with a decision of a trade body regarding tariffs on solar panels, wind towers and Chinese steel cylinders. They said Beijing could impose reprisal sanctions if Washington did not remove them.
Washington has challenged the validity of the WTO ruling and could challenge $2.4 billion in retaliatory sanctions by referring the case to arbitration.
The dispute comes as the Trump government, which is pushing the WTO to reorganize its rules, allowing China to call itself a “developing country,” faces Beijing in a wider trade war.
US officials believe that China enjoys easier treatment in the WTO, while subsidizing manufactured goods and dumping them into world markets.
The WTO dispute settlement body has given Beijing the go-ahead to apply for countervailing sanctions in mid-August.
The United States had then stated that it did not consider the WTO findings to be valid and that the judges had applied “the wrong legal interpretation in this dispute”.
China continued to be the “serial culprit” of the WTO subsidy agreement, said the US delegation at the time.
US officials in Washington and Geneva made no further comments on Monday.
Alan Wolff, Deputy Director General of the WTO, the highest-ranking US organization, declined to comment on the case at an event organized by a Washington think tank.
But he said that he remains convinced of the relevance of the WTO. He added that the fact that members continue to file complaints in the WTO shows their belief that a bitter stalemate in the WTO dispute settlement process could be resolved.
“The WTO … can not prevent a trade war, but it can be part of the solution,” he said.
“There may be difficult times, but the trading system will eventually survive and be improved.”
China went to the WTO in 2012 to challenge US countervail duties, called countervailing duties, on Chinese exports valued at $7.3 billion by Beijing at the time.
The fees were levied as a result of 17 investigations initiated by the US Department of Commerce between 2007 and 2012.
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), Robert Lighthizer, said the WTO ruling acknowledged that the United States had proven that China was using state-owned enterprises to subsidize and distort its economy.
The decision also said that the United States must accept Chinese prices to measure subsidies, even though USTR considered these prices “distorted.”
The United States and China have imposed in the last 15 months a series of tariffs equal to those that have agitated the financial markets and caused a sharp slowdown in global economic growth.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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