China challenges US over steel, aluminum tariffs at WTO

Agence France Presse

Posted at Apr 10 2018 06:22 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2019 01:00 AM

GENEVA - Beijing has requested dispute consultations with the United States at the World Trade Organization over US tariffs slapped on imports of Chinese steel and aluminum products, according to a WTO document published Tuesday.

China's representative to the world trade body has requested "consultations" with Washington over its decision to impose "additional ad valorem rate of duty on imports of certain steel and aluminum products," according to the document, which stated that the complaint was filed on April 5.

US President Donald Trump decided in March to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, primarily to target China.

China claims the duties of 25 percent and 10 percent on imports of its steel and aluminium products violate international trade rules.

The Chinese "request for consultations", which marks the first step in a full-blown legal challenge at the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, is part of an escalating trade confrontation between Washington and Beijing. 

Early last week, Washington also published a list of $50 billion in Chinese goods to be hit by tariffs over what Washington says is widespread theft of intellectual property and technology.

China quickly launched a challenge against those proposed tariffs, also requesting that the WTO organize consultations. 

Beijing also retaliated by unveiling planned levies on $50 billion worth of major US exports including soybeans, cars and small aircraft. 

But Trump hit back again late Thursday, instructing trade officials to consider tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports.