Tariffs Challenged by WTO before Meeting with China

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has agreed to establish panels to examine steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the U.S. following requests from seven member countries, including China. President Trump plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping individually during the G20 summit, which begins Friday in Buenos Aires, to discuss trade between the two nations. The President told “The Wall Street Journal” that despite the meeting, he is “highly unlikely” to fulfill the Chinese government’s request to hold off on further tariff increases planned for January.

WTO Update

The DSB also agreed to four U.S. requests to establish panels to examine countermeasures imposed by China, Canada, the European Union and Mexico on U.S. imports. These countermeasures were imposed in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs. The DSB will also establish a panel to examine Chinese measures which the U.S. say discriminate against foreign intellectual property rights holders in China.

China, the EU, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Russia and Turkey submitted second requests for panels to challenge the U.S.’s decision to impose an additional customs duty of 10 percent on aluminum imports and 25 percent on certain steel imports. The first requests were blocked by the U.S. at a DSB meeting on October 29, 2018 as were the original U.S. requests, according to the WTO.

“The seven members reiterated their belief that the U.S. measures, allegedly taken for national security reasons, were, in their content and substance, safeguard measures taken to protect the U.S. steel and aluminum industries from the economic effects of imports,” reads a statement from the WTO.

Meeting with China

On September 24, 2018, a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods went into effect. The tariffs will increase to 25 percent on January 1, 2019.

The list includes:

  • Various float glass products;
  • Glass mirrors;
  • Glass frit;
  • Laminated safety glass;
  • Glass in the mass of fused quartz or other fused silica; and
  • Enamels, glazing, pigments, colors and lustres for the glass industries.

According to “The Wall Street Journal,” the President suggested that he might impose tariffs on the remaining Chinese imports not currently subject to duties if the upcoming negotiations with China don’t produce a favorable outcome for the U.S.

“The only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States,” he said in an interview with the Journal. “As far as other countries are concerned, that’s up to them.”

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