A dozen years of China in the WTO: A congressional panel looks back
In 2012, the guys and gals down at the ol’ World Trade Organization (WTO) made an announcement: A ruling had been reached regarding a dispute between the U.S. and Chinese governments over certain American steel exports. Two years earlier (in 2010) the Americans had said the Chinese were placing duties on those exports, a move that would be outside the boundaries of WTO rules. The Chinese said, “nope, we’re not doing that. Not us.” And lo, the WTO sided with the stars and bars:
A WTO panel found that China conducted an investigation and applied duties in a manner inconsistent with numerous obligations under the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement and the Antidumping Agreement. ...
Commented Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM): ‘This ruling shows that getting tough on trade cheating pays dividends--it will save jobs in America.
China appealed, and lost a few months later. It was then that the Chinese government agreed to change its duty policy. And all was well!
Until it wasn’t. Because, by the United States Trade Representative’s estimation, the steel import duties that China agreed to remove have remained in place. The USTR has requested China re-enter consultations regarding the steel duty.
Which is all to say: It’s a long, slow process, arbitrating disputes at the WTO. And this case of disputed duties on specialized steel imports makes for a nice bit of background color ahead of tomorrow’s Capitol Hill hearing on China’s compliance with WTO rules.
Methinks you’ll want to tune in for this. The hearing, held by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, will examine Beijing’s record when it comes to trade obligations. As your buds at AAM note often, there are lots of issues with the way China approaches international trade. It price-dumps products into the marketplace to swamp its competition. It competes using state-owned enterprises. And it severely undervalues its currency. All of that unfairly hurts its international competition (read: American businesses). We expect quite a few of these topics to come up during the commission’s discussion with a panel of trade experts.
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