China files WTO challenge to Donald Trump's United States dollars 200 billion tariff hike

Lester Mason
July 16, 2018

"These tariffs appear to breach each WTO Member's commitments under the WTO Agreement", U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

It has also applied tariffs on imported steel and aluminium from allies like Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

If a US trading partner wants to go through the WTO's dispute settlement process, it can make a "request for consultations" that would start a 60-day period to talk about the issue. Even so, Chinese Premier Li said the European Union meeting was not targeted at any third party, adding that trade friction with the U.S. was a "bilateral" issue for China and the Trump administration to work out. China says the tariffs are illegal attempts at protectionism.

The trade status between the two countries has so far affected prices of raw materials, including paper, steel and aluminum.

Xi said China stands ready to work with the EU on the basis of mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, to make still further progress in the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and promote bilateral economic and social development and people's welfare.

Besides the steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU, Russia and major United States trading partners, Mr Trump earlier this month implemented tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, drawing a tit-for-tat response from Beijing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it is absurd and insulting to use such a provision against Canada, a close military ally.

China criticised the move but has yet to say whether it would retaliate for the second round of tariffs.

The WTO has "not worked well, or not as well as it was meant to work when China was brought into the WTO in the year 2000", Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass said at an event in Washington on Monday.

A Commerce Ministry spokesman said last week Beijing hoped they would lobby Washington to protect their own interests. But China might be reluctant to do that because many products sold by multinational companies, such as General Motors or Apple, are made in China by local workers.

Freeland has insisted that Canada introduced stronger safeguards on steel well before the USA imposed the tariffs. The federal government has said it's consulting with industry so even more can be done to address the diversion and dumping of aluminum and steel in the Canadian market.

The Canada-U.S. trading relationship has been facing big challenges due to unprecedented, cross-border tensions that have also included stalled NAFTA negotiations and threats of new tariffs on the automotive sector by President Donald Trump.

In taxing imported steel and aluminum from some countries in March and others in June, President Donald Trump deployed a little-used weapon in American trade policy: Under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, presidents are empowered to impose unlimited tariffs on imports that the Commerce Department asserts are threats to America's national security. Southern Ontario is the centre of Canada's auto industry, with plants from American and overseas auto makers, numerous parts manufacturers and heavy integration with US assemblies on the other side of the border.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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