The World Trade Organization (WTO) today reported that China has requested consultations with the United States under the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism regarding the U.S. tariff measures on certain Chinese goods that would allegedly be implemented under sections 301-310 of the Trade Act of 1974.
According to a WTO release, China claims the tariffs would be in excess of the U.S. bound rates and are inconsistent with provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and of the Dispute Settlement Understanding.
The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO. Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation. After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.
In another tariff-related action, the United States submitted a communication to China and the WTO regarding China’s recent request for consultations on the section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. According to a release from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), China’s request for WTO consultations “…is completely baseless” because the U.S. section 232 tariffs address a national security threat to critical industries and are not part of a safeguard action. The USTR release continues that “there is no basis under WTO rules for China’s decision this week to raise tariffs against over $3 billion in U.S. exports.”
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