US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

China asks WTO for sanctions in US trade dispute

China's request to WTO is likely to lead to years of legal wrangling over the case for sanctions and the amount

Geneva: China will ask the World Trade Organization next week for permission to impose sanctions on the United States, for Washington’s non-compliance with a ruling in a dispute over US dumping duties that China initiated in 2013, a meeting agenda showed on Tuesday.

The request is likely to lead to years of legal wrangling over the case for sanctions and the amount. Last year China won a WTO ruling in the dispute, which related to several industries including machinery and electronics, light industry, metals and minerals, with an annual export value of up to $8.4 billion.

The United States and China have activated additional tariffs on $50 billion of each other’s goods since July, as trade friction between the world’s two biggest economies worsened, despite several rounds of negotiations.

Trump has criticised China’s record trade surplus with the United States, and has demanded that Beijing cut it immediately.

Tension has also persisted over limits on US firms’ access to Chinese markets, intellectual property protection, technology transfers and investment.

In August, China unveiled a proposed list of retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of US goods ranging from liquefied natural gas to some types of aircraft, should Washington activate the tariffs on its $200 billion list.

The tariffs, ranging from 5% to 25%, would apply to 5,207 products, and US actions will determine whether China adopts the additional duties, Beijing said at the time.

China has either imposed or proposed tariffs on $110 billion of US goods, representing most of its American imports, though crude oil and large aircraft are still not targeted for penalties.

The $200 billion of Chinese goods on the US list includes some consumer products such as cameras and recording devices, luggage, handbags, tires and vacuum cleaners, with additional tariffs ranging from 10% to 25%.

Spared until now, mobile phones, the biggest US import from China, would be engulfed if Trump activates the $267 billion tariff list.

Trump’s threatened tariffs cover a total of $517 billion in Chinese goods, which would exceed last year’s goods imports of $505 billion from China.

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