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WTO rap on US tariffs

Trump has repeatedly criticised the WTO, which oversees international disputes on trade, for allegedly treating the US unfairly
The ruling, in theory, would allow China to impose retaliatory tariffs on billions worth of US goods — if the process is completed.

  |     |   Published 16.09.20, 06:08 AM

The World Trade Organisation said on Tuesday that the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods totaling more than $200 billion are illegal under the rules of the global trade body.

The decision marks the first time the Geneva-based trade body has ruled against a series of tariffs that President Donald Trump’s government has imposed on a number of countries, allies and rivals alike. Trump has repeatedly criticised the WTO, which oversees international disputes on trade, for allegedly treating the US unfairly.

In its decision, the WTO ruled against the Trump administration’s argument that China has engaged in practices harmful to US interests, on issues including intellectual property theft, technology transfer and innovation.

The ruling, in theory, would allow China to impose retaliatory tariffs on billions worth of US goods — if the process is completed. But the US government can appeal the decision announced by the WTO’s dispute settlement body, and the WTO’s appeals court is currently no longer functioning — largely because of Washington’s single-handed refusal to accept new members for it.

The US tariffs target two batches of Chinese products. Duties of 10 per cent were imposed on some $200 billion worth of goods in September 2018, and were jacked up to 25 per cent eight months later. AP

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