China Sues United States in WTO Over Tariffs Dispute

  • China filed a lawsuit against the United States because "the US taxation measures seriously violated agreements between  the heads of the two countries met in Osaka."
  • Just last Sunday, the fierce trade war between the United States and China entered a new round, and the two sides imposed tariffs on each other.
  • The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it filed a lawsuit under the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSB).

China officially sued the United States at the World Trade Organization on Tuesday over American import duties. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce on September 2  said Beijing is “strongly dissatisfied” with the punitive tariffs on Chinese imports from the US that came into force a few days ago and resolutely opposed it.

The Ministry said that China will firmly safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and firmly defend the multilateral trading system and international trade order in accordance with relevant WTO rules.

The Ministry filed a lawsuit against the United States because “the US taxation measures seriously violated agreements between  the heads of the two countries met in Osaka.” In June this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Trump announced during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan that the two sides reached an agreement to resume trade dispute negotiations.

The Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM), is a Cabinet-level executive agency of the State Council of China. It is responsible for formulating policy on foreign trade, export and import regulations, foreign direct investments, consumer protection, market competition and negotiating bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. The current Commerce minister is Zhong Shan.

However, just last Sunday, the fierce trade war between the United States and China entered a new round, and the two sides imposed tariffs on each other. The US imposed a 15% tariff on Chinese imports, which includes furniture, sportswear and supplies, and food. Since then, the US will continue to increase taxes, involving a total of $300 billion worth of goods.

In response to the new US tariffs, Beijing also imposed punitive tariffs on $75 billion worth of US goods in two batches. The first batch also began last Sunday, and the second batch is scheduled to start in mid-December.

President Trump has been complaining that the United States has a huge trade deficit with China, accusing China of flooding the US market with cheap goods. In the past year and a half, the two countries have repeatedly imposed punitive tariffs on huge amounts of imported goods.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it filed a lawsuit under the WTO Dispute Settlement Board (DSB).

For months, the board itself was in crisis due to an American boycott. Washington refused to initiate the selection process for the judges of the Appellate Body of the DSB. President Trump accused the board of indiscriminating authority and undermining the sovereignty of member states.

The Dispute Settlement Board (DSB) of the World Trade Organization is the WTO organ responsible for adjudication of disputes. The operation of the WTO dispute settlement process involves the parties and third parties to a case and may also involve the DSB panels, the Appellate Body, the WTO Secretariat, arbitrators, independent experts, and several specialized institutions.

If a new judge cannot be appointed by the end of this year, the Appellate Body will not be able to work because of the insufficient number of judges required.

According to Agence France-Presse, in order to get out of this predicament, in July this year, Canada and the European Union made a proposal to set up a temporary appeal agency to deal with trade disputes.

However, this proposal fails to provide a way to avoid the possibility that the WTO dispute settlement mechanism itself may be embarrassing, because this proposal has no other countries involved, especially the major trading countries of China, India, and Japan.

For a long time, the Trump administration has complained that the rules of the WTO are unfair to the United States. In fact, the United States has so far been a winner in the WTO disputes.

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.


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