The US lodged an appeal on Monday against an earlier World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that found tariffs imposed on China in 2018 by the United States breached global trade rules, according to a WTO official cited by Reuters.
In a speech announcing its appeal, the US delegation reportedly said that the panel report dated 15 September "reflects a major, missed opportunity for the WTO to begin to tackle the most serious problem faced by every member that seeks a balanced and fair world-trading system: namely, aggressive state policies that seek to dominate broad industrial sectors."
Last month, a three-person WTO panel ruled that Washington had failed to justify why tariffs imposed after a Section 301 investigation against China were an admissible exception to its obligations.
The trade body found the US had flouted its rules by introducing the high tariffs against Chinese goods, and demanded that they be brought into conformity with the United States’ obligations as a member of the WTO.
The organisation further stressed that the US had failed to utilise the Dispute Settlement mechanism to resolve its outstanding issues marring trade relations with China.
"Recalling Article 3.7 of the DSU that highlights that the aim of the dispute settlement system is to achieve a positive solution, the Panel expresses its ongoing encouragement to the parties to pursue further efforts to achieve a mutually satisfactory solution [to their conflict]", the ruling says.
China’s Ministry of Commerce welcomed the verdict, stating that it hoped the US “will fully respect the ruling of the expert panel and the rules-based multilateral trading system, and take practical actions to meet China and other WTO members in jointly maintaining the multilateral trading system”.
US-China Trade Row
Donald Trump, who previously slammed the WTO for treating the United States "unfairly" in its dispute-resolving mechanisms, unleashed a trade war against China back in 2018, slapping hefty tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium.
Washington accused Beijing of abusing existing trade agreements to profiteer at the US’ expense, with the list of affected goods expanding since to include some $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
China retaliated with tit-for-tat tariffs on the imports of American goods.
The stand-off spiraled into a major tech war after Huawei, ZTE, and more than 70 Chinese tech companies were blacklisted in May of last year, with Washington citing alleged national security concerns – something that Beijing and numerous Chinese tech giants have routinely denied.
Despite the sides taking steps to normalise trade relations by signing the so-called Phase One agreement in 2019, ties deteriorated again after President Trump accused China of being responsible for starting the global coronavirus pandemic.
The latest allegations have been dismissed by Beijing as emphatically as all previous accusations levelled by Washington.