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China accuses US of 'blatant breach' of policy, drags tariff dispute to WTO

'This is a blatant breach of the United States' obligations under the WTO agreements and is posing a systemic challenge to the multilateral trading system,' China's representative said

Reuters  |  Geneva 

US-China trade war

China triggered the legal process on Monday for the to hear Beijing's challenge to imposed on $234 billion of goods, and berated the for blocking the appointment of judges who could rule on it.

A Chinese told a WTO meeting that China wanted an expert panel to adjudicate its complaint, launched in April last year. The complaint seeks to block imposed on Chinese imports in a trade war between the world's two largest economies launched under

"This is a blatant breach of the United States' obligations under the WTO agreements and is posing a systemic challenge to the multilateral trading system," China's said, according to a transcript.

"If the were free to continue infringing these principles without consequences, the future viability of this organisation is in dire peril."

The started to impose 25 per cent additional tariffs on approximately $34 billion of Chinese imports from July 6, 2018, and imposed 10 per cent additional tariffs on approximately $200 billion of Chinese imports from Sept 24.

China has responded with tariffs on US goods.

The US official at the meeting said China was using the WTO system as a shield for trade-distorting policies, and China was damaging the world trading system through "grossly and practices and through this unfounded dispute".

"It is China, and certainly not the United States, that is threatening the overall viability of the WTO system," the US official said.

China's case, like others launched recently, may soon become impossible to resolve because of US action that has halted the appointment of judges to hear appeals in trade disputes.

says judges have routinely broken WTO procedure and exceeded their mandate. It reiterated its position at Monday's meeting, while China and 70 other WTO members reiterated their call for the United States to stop blocking the appointment of judges.

There are only three judges left on the WTO's Appellate Body, the top court of world trade, and two will step down in December. WTO rules require three judges to hear appeals.

China said the US action to halt the appointment of judges was illegitimate. It cited WTO rules that say "vacancies shall be filled as they arise".

Brazil's told the meeting: "If nothing is done (we) will witness the shutdown of an organ that is at the heart of the WTO dispute settlement system. Time is of the essence."

First Published: Mon, January 28 2019. 23:10 IST
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