China files WTO challenge against latest U.S. tariff plan

President of the European Council Donald Tusk

On June 21, Turkey slapped tariffs between 4 and 70 percent on $1.8 billion in USA products.

The EU and China announced plans June 25 to form a group to work on updating WTO rules.

The softer economic figures weighed on Asian markets generally, with the Shanghai Composite index and the blue-chip CSI300 - the world's worst-performing major indexes this year - each off 0.7 percent. Here, a container ship is unloaded at the Port of Oakland in California last week after completing a voyage from China.

China's exports to the United States rose 13.6 percent in the first half of 2018 from a year earlier, while its imports from the USA rose 11.8 percent in the same period.

While China takes advantage of WTO protections for its goods exports, it has been criticized for not upholding WTO rules requiring enforcement of trademarks and patents and for subsidizing selected domestic sectors.

The Trump administration is hitting back at a number of countries for what it considers unjustified retaliatory tariffs that were imposed as a response to the steel and aluminum duties the US applied on its closest allies in the name of national security.

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The United States says it's firing back at the Canadian government's recent retaliatory tariffs on American imports by launching a formal challenge with the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. cited "national security" as the reason for imposing its tariffs: Mr. Lighthizer claims that he has to keep foreign steel and aluminum out of the country in order to build up the U.S.'s domestic metal-making capacity so that it can make its own steel and aluminum in the event of a war.

But China, the European Union and the others argue that's just an excuse.

After Trump announced 25 and 15 percent import tariffs respectively on steel and aluminium, retaliatory duties on USA imports have been imposed by China (April 2), Mexico (June 5), Turkey (June 21), and the European Union (June 22).

Yes, although it could take a while.

If a USA trading partner wants to go through the WTO's dispute settlement process, it can make a "request for consultations" that would start a 60-day period to talk about the issue.

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Beijing officials seemed less inclined to send a message to the United States.

At the very least, Trump is buying time: it can take months or even years before disputes get resolved through WTO bodies or are settled outside between the sides. Beijing responded by vowing to retaliate and file a complaint to the WTO. Consequently, Beijing responded with its own levies on US goods worth $34 billion.

There is deep skepticism in the European Union about China's actual commitment to opening its market further, as well as concern that it seeks to divide the world's largest trading bloc with its economic influence in Eastern Europe. That tactic was used in disputes with other Asian countries.

"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as USA tariffs start to bite alongside a broader softening in global demand", Julian Evans-Pritchard, Senior China Economist at Capital Economics in Singapore wrote in a note, though he noted a weaker yuan should help offset some of the decline.

"Now that the world economy is deeply integrated, industrial chains have become globalised, and many related countries also will feel an impact".

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