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China files WTO complaint over United States tariffs

10 April 2018

Beijing has requested dispute consultations with the United States at the World Trade Organization over U.S. tariffs slapped on imports of Chinese steel and aluminum products, according to a WTO document published on April 10.

Beijing has requested dispute consultations over the tariffs - 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum - Trump instituted last month over national security concerns under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative filed a complaint on March 23 against China, requesting consultations at the WTO for what it said were Chinese violations of the worldwide organization's rules on patent rights and licensing.

Beijing says Trump's decision to impose additional duties of 25% on steel and 10% aluminium violate worldwide trade rules laid down in the WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and of the Agreement on Safeguards.

According to the WTO's rules, this gave member countries that have a substantial interest in the matter a 10-day period to notify the organization that it would like to participate in the consultations as a third party.

China's complaint argues that the United States hasn't shown that steel and aluminum imports hurt domestic producers and it hasn't followed the proper procedures in pursuing the tariffs.

Trump has escalated the chances of a trade war with China by vowing to impose tariffs on imports of certain products from China and other countries.

China's government issued a $3 billion list of United States goods including pork, apples and steel pipes on March 23 that it said might be targeted for retaliation if Trump fails to negotiate a settlement to the dispute over steel and aluminum charges.

China quickly launched a challenge against those proposed tariffs, also requesting that the WTO organize consultations.

China files WTO complaint over United States tariffs