China asks WTO for $2.4B in retaliatory sanctions against US

China is asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) for $2.4 billion in retaliatory sanctions against the U.S. for violating a ruling about tariffs on Chinese products during former President Obama’s administration.

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The Dispute Settlement Body for the WTO plans to review the 2012 case on Oct. 28, according to a document published Monday and obtained by Reuters. WTO appeals judges ruled the U.S. did not comply with a WTO ruling on tariffs placed on Chinese solar panels, wind towers and steel cylinders and that China could place sanctions if the tariffs were not abolished.

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The U.S. has objected to the ruling and may challenge the retaliatory sanctions that the dispute body effectively approved in August, according to Reuters. U.S. officials have argued that the body found “the wrong legal interpretation in this dispute.”

China filed the case with the WTO about seven years ago, after it said U.S. anti-subsidy tariffs were placed on $7.3 billion in Chinese exports. The WTO ruled China used state-owned enterprises to falsify its economy but that the U.S. needed to respect Chinese prices to calculate subsidies.

The Trump administration is encouraging the WTO to adjust its rules that permit China to be designated as a “developing country,” asserting it allows China to receive easier treatment from the organization, according to Reuters. 

The U.S. and China have been involved in a trade war throughout the past year, with each country imposing tariffs against the other.  

U.S. officials in Washington and Geneva told Reuters they had no further comment.

Alan Wolff, deputy director-general of the WTO, declined to comment to Reuters on the specific case but said the organization “can’t prevent a trade war, but it can be part of the solution.” 

“There may be difficult times ahead, but ultimately the trading system will be survive and be improved,” Reuters reported he said.

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