China says USA solar tariffs violate trade rules, lodges WTO complaint

Daniel Fowler
August 17, 2018

Trump defended solar tariffs as necessary to protect USA producers, saying import prices were unfairly low due to subsidies and other inappropriate subsidies.

China's government says it has filed a challenge to a USA tariff hike on solar panels in the World Trade Organization, adding to its sprawling trade dispute with President Donald Trump. USA officials say such action is necessary because the WTO lacks the ability to address Chinese trade tactics.

Trump's tariffs were not popular with the USA solar industry, which claimed the rising cost of imports would cause the loss of thousands of jobs. In order to protect its trade interests, China has deemed necessary to resort to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. The exemption for Canada, the European Union and Mexico expired on June 30 and Washington refused to extend it.

WTO complaints begin with negotiations between the parties to the conflict.

Another round of US tariff hikes on $16 billion of Chinese goods is due to take effect August 23.

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In the two previous years, the NDAA was signed into law in December, months into the new fiscal year. Inclusion of the measure was seen as a bid to target China .

As of August 23, both countries will apply a new tariff package of 25 percent with a value of 16 billion dollars.

The new round of tariffs marked the completion of Trump's threat to impose $50 billion of import taxes on Chinese goods, the first $34 billion of which went into effect on July 6. The president has also said the tariffs have been created to promote better trade deals. It said a formal complaint was filed Tuesday with the WTO in Geneva.

On Aug. 1, Trump called for raising the proposed tariff on 200 billion dollars of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, adding the implementation is pending a public comment process ending on September 5.

Washington announced in January the imposition of what it called safeguard tariffs for four years: a tariff of 30 percent in the first year, which would be reduced gradually to 15 percent in the fourth year. There is division and confusion over how China should respond to Trump, with some arguing that Beijing should strike back at American interests but others saying they didn't know what could be done.

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