China files complaint against the US at the WTO over tariff hikes

China will defend its legal rights in accordance with WTO rules, the country's Commerce Ministry said.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, has just filed a complaint against the United States (US) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over US import duties.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said on Monday (Sept 2, 2019) the US tariffs impacted US$300 billion of Chinese exports and the latest tariff actions from the US violated the consensus reached by leaders of China and the US in a meeting in Osaka.

China will defend its legal rights in accordance with WTO rules, the Commerce Ministry added.

On Sunday, the US, the world’s largest economy, began imposing 15% tariffs on some Chinese goods. Meanwhile, China retaliated with increased duties of between 5% and 10% on a range of American goods which included US crude oil and soy beans.

The lawsuit is the third of its kind China has brought to challenge the tariff hikes imposed by the US at the WTO. There is a limit to tariffs each country can charge, as guided by the WTO.

The US has defended their actions by saying that they are penalizing China for intellectual property theft which is not covered by WTO rules.

Under WTO’s rules, the US will have 60 days to settle the latest scuffle. If the US is guilty to have broken the rules, China could gain WTO approval to take trade sanctions. However, such a procedure may take several years to be resolved.

The US and some experts have pointed out China’s counter-measure to retaliate in tariffs on US goods imported into China as an act that is also, done without the approval from the WTO.

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