09/16/2020, 09.26
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World Trade Organization: US tariffs on China violate international rules

According to a panel of three judges, Washington has failed to prove that Chinese misconduct justified tariffs imposed in 2018. The Trump administration has imposed tariffs of € 350 billion. Beijing asks them to respect the verdict. The White House responds the WTO is inadequate to deal with Chinese violations. Experts: the verdict will have no practical effect.

Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The duties imposed by the Trump administration on Chinese exports in 2018 violate the rules of international trade. This was established yesterday by three judges of the World Trade Organization (WTO) who ruled that the US failed to demonstrate that the accusations against the Chinese state of observing unfair commercial practices justified customs tariffs.

The US government has imposed duties on 295 billion euros in goods imported from China, sparking a trade war between the two powers. Washington accuses Beijing of systematically breaking WTO rules by stealing technological and industrial secrets, and massively subsidizing Chinese companies (public and private).

Last January the two sides signed a preliminary agreement (the so-called "phase one") in an attempt to find a solution to the crisis. Under the deal the Asian giant committed to buying around 184 billion euros in goods and services from the United States by the end of 2021.

The Chinese authorities, which had appealed to the WTO against US tariffs worth € 169 billion, welcomed the decision. They called on the US to respect it and to take the necessary steps to keep the multilateral trading system running.

According to the Trump executive, the verdict shows that the WTO is "completely inadequate" to punish China's misconduct: " Although the panel did not dispute the extensive evidence submitted by the US of intellectual property theft by China, its decision shows that the WTO provides no remedy for such misconduct,” said US trade representative Robert Lighthizer.

For several observers, the WTO response will have no practical effect. President Donald Trump is on the electoral campaign and does not intend to destabilize the markets with sensational moves, such as the announcement of the US exit from the organization.

The current White House tenant has long blocked the appointment of new judges of the WTO Court of Appeal, the body that should ultimately decide on any appeals to the verdict pronounced yesterday in the first instance.


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