A World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitrator Wednesday ruled in favor of China in a retaliatory tariff dispute, granting China the right to impose retaliatory tariffs on US imports totaling up to $645 million a year. The decision brings to an end a decade-long dispute between the US and China.
China’s WTO complaint originated with tariffs imposed against certain China manufacturing products between 2008 and 2012 under the Obama administration. Some of the manufacturing products included thermal paper, solar panels, wind towers, steel sinks and certain types of pipes. At the time, the Obama administration tariffs were meant to counteract China’s unfair market advantage from producing the goods with China state subsidies.
After a series of appeals, the WTO declared in 2019 that the Obama-administration tariffs were in violation of WTO rules. China claimed the US failed to comply with WTO recommendations and rulings within a reasonable period of time. As a result, an arbitration panel was convened.
China had originally sought an award of $2.4 billion per year. The US argued the WTO should award no more than $106 million annually.
The arbitrator’s Wednesday decision resolves the issue by allowing for China to impose retaliatory tariffs. China now has WTO authority to impose up to $645 million per year in tariffs against the US.