US claims retaliation violates WTO rules

Muriel Colon
July 21, 2018

China on Wednesday continued its attacks on the trade war launched by the U.S. on its exports and said that it would harm global confidence in the economy and growth of worldwide trade.

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced on Monday 16 July that it would be filing WTO cases against Canada, China, the EU, Mexico, and Turkey, after they imposed duties on various US imports following Washington's own tariffs on imported steel and aluminium.

The WTO gives countries broad leeway to determine national security interests.

Launched Jan. 1, 1995, as the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the WTO's mission is to facilitate free and fair trade. It is run by the governments of the 164 members through ministerial meetings at least once every two years, and by ambassadors and delegates at the organization's headquarters in Geneva. "They are a clear violation of the basic WTO principle of most-favoured-nation treatment as well as the basic spirit and principles of worldwide law", the ministry stressed.

The administration is asking each of the five trading partners for consultations under the WTO's dispute settlement procedures. "The vast majority of the value is embodied in components that go into China, are assembled or transformed in various ways and come back here".

Membership in the WTO has been part of China's rise to global economic influence since it joined in 2001.

"I think Liu He and others would like to move but haven't", he said at a conference.

Workers stand in line next to a container ship at a port in China.

State governors discussed ways Thursday to court foreign investment in the wake of President Donald Trump's trade disputes with countries including China, Canada and Mexico.

The Section 301 tariff on Chinese goods took effect on July 6 for over 800 categories of goods imported from China.

Why is the U.S. going to the WTO?

Exporters to China such as Canada, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand, and exporters to the United States, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, and Brazil will be among the winners as they can replace USA and Chinese seafood exports, the report suggested.

The Commerce Department is investigating whether imports of passenger vehicles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, imperils US national security. "We're trying to make sure we have enough in stock now, so if things change, we're prepared".

Yes, although it could take a while.

The spokesperson also said the United States turns to diverse excuses, among which the issue of national security to créate barriers to business activities and investment of China in that country. Notable among them is motorbike maker Harley-Davidson, which announced plans to shift some manufacturing overseas over the next 18 months to avoid the impact of the European Union retaliatory tariffs of up to $100 million annually it would otherwise face. "In accordance with the WTO rules, the Chinese party asked the United States to hold consultations on compensation for the damage but Washington refused to do so", the statement noted.

The European Commission last week cut its forecasts for the euro zone's economic growth this year, saying the main causes for the revision were trade tensions with the United States as well as higher oil prices. At times, the disputes simply fizzle as participants lose the ambition to resolve them.

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