In a report, the group of WTO experts concluded that “the measures at issue are inconsistent” with various articles of the GATT (ancestor of the WTO), and “recommends that the U.S. bring its measures into conformity with its obligations”. The report also said that the U.S. has not provided sufficient evidence or explanation to support its claims. The case was brought by Beijing to the WTO in 2018 and concerns a first tranche of customs duties imposed by the U.S. on some US$250 billion of Chinese goods. These punitive tariffs marked the start of a trade war between the two economic giants and were one of the hallmarks of the Trump presidency. Washington and Beijing then struck a largely stalled trade deal.

The Trump administration has sharply criticised the WTO. “This panel report confirms what we have been saying for four years; the WTO is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices”, said Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative, in a statement to the press. “The U.S. must be allowed to defend itself against unfair trade practices”, he added.

Source: AFP