WTO Finds Some U.S. Tariffs on China Violate Trade Rules
On Tuesday, the World Trade Organization ruled that several US tariffs against China break international trading rules. This conclusion not only exacerbates US-WTO tensions but will likely not result in any consequence or significant change in US tariff policy due to the ineffectiveness of the organization’s appellate system. The WTO was investigating a complaint filed by China in 2018 claiming that the Trump administration broke two WTO rules in their sanctions due to the fact that it singled out China for higher tariffs than other countries.
The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized the WTO and its rules for being unjust, outdated, and inaccurate. Under the current WTO guidelines, countries are granted a limited amount of reasons for which tariffs can be imposed on a single country. China was successful in arguing that the US’s imposition of restrictive measures against trade between the two countries contained reasoning outside of the WTO’s established scope. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce stated that the ruling was fair and objective, expressing hope that the US would comply with the conclusion.