A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel recently ruled that U.S tariffs on Chinese goods were in violation of certain international trade rules. Tariffs were placed on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese goods back in 2018. Despite U.S. officials detailing the reason why the tariffs were imposed, the panel of three WHO trade experts declared that the U.S. broke global trade regulations by not going through the proper WTO dispute system.
“Although the panel did not dispute the extensive evidence submitted by the United States of intellectual property theft by China, its decision shows that the WTO provides no remedy for such misconduct,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a news release. “The United States must be allowed to defend itself against unfair trade practices, and the Trump Administration will not let China use the WTO to take advantage of American workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers.”
In its report, the WTO panel stated that “the United States has not provided sufficient evidence or explanation to substantiate its assertion that the measures are necessary to protect the “standards of right or wrong” invoked by the United States.” Despite the WTO ruling against the U.S. It is unlikely that it will have any notable impact. The U.S. can file an appeal on the decision within 60 days. An appeal would essentially void the WTO decision. Because the U.S. has not approved any new appointments to the WTO’s appellate court, the matter could be left unresolved for an indeterminate amount of time.
The WTO’s findings on the U.S. tariffs are not expected to have any influence on other trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. “It is important to note that this report has no effect on the historic Phase One Agreement between the United States and China, which includes new, enforceable commitments by China to prevent the theft of American technology,” Lighthizer explained.