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WTO: U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods circumvented dispute system

by Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Sep 30, 2020 at 0:00 AM

On Sept.15, a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel found that tariffs the United states levied on Chinese goods in 2018 violated provisions of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT).

According to published reports, the tariffs only applied to China, and exceeded the limits of allowable tariffs the U.S. had agreed to.

The U.S. established the tariffs on hundreds of million dollars’ worth of Chinese goods, accusing China of violating the intellectual property rights of U.S. citizens and businesses through extortion and commercial cybertheft.

The ruling drew public criticism from United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer.

“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,” Lighthizer said. In a press release, the USTR said the tariffs led to the Phase One Agreement reached by the U.S. and China earlier this year, and that the Phase One Agreement will not be affected by the WTO report.

The U.S. has refused to approve new appointments to the WTO body that handles appeals, so there is no venue for a U.S. appeal to be heard in this case.

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