The World Trade Organization found on Tuesday that the United States breached global trading rules by imposing multibillion-dollar tariffs in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, a ruling that drew anger from Washington.
The Trump administration says its tariffs imposed two years ago on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods were justified because China was stealing intellectual property and forcing U.S. companies to transfer technology for access to China’s markets.
But the WTO’s three-member panel said the U.S. duties broke trading rules because they applied only to China and were above maximum rates agreed to by the United States. Washington had not then adequately explained why its measures were a justified exception, the panel concluded.
“This panel report confirms what the Trump administration has been saying for four years: the WTO is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in response.
China’s Commerce Ministry said Beijing supported the multilateral trading system and respected WTO rules and rulings, and hoped Washington would do the same.