The U.S. is angry about a World Trade Organization, WTO, decision that could allow China to place economic restrictions on the United States.
The case is not related to President Donald Trump’s recent tariffs against China. Instead, it dates back to 2007. At that time, Chinese officials came to the WTO to stop U.S. tariffs on some Chinese exports, including solar panels and wind towers. The exports were then valued at nearly $7.3 billion.
In one way, WTO officials agreed with U.S. officials’ argument. The Americans charge that some Chinese state-owned companies help private Chinese companies by providing products at unfairly low prices.
However, the WTO decision also found the U.S. did not put the right amount of tariffs on Chinese goods as punishment for the subsidies. As a result, the WTO said, the Americans must adjust their tariffs or accept Chinese sanctions in return.
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative, USTR, said Tuesday that it was pleased by the first part of the ruling. It did not, however, agree with the second decision.
The USTR said the decision undermines WTO rules. It added that China’s state-owned businesses are harming U.S. workers and creating problems with markets around the world. It also said it will “take all necessary steps to ensure a level playing field" with China.
Separately, European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom commented on the WTO’s appellate court on Tuesday. She said it could collapse for a short time in 2019 because the U.S. opposes the nomination of its judges.
U.S. President Donald Trump has blocked nominations to the seven-member court. He has accused judges of taking too much power and ignoring their own rules.
The block is not expected to be lifted anytime soon. If it is not, the court could be cut to one judge by December 11. With only one judge, the WTO’s appeals court would not be able to hear new cases.
I’m Susan Shand.
The Associated Press and the Voice of America reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
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Words in This Story
tariffs – n. a tax on goods coming into or leaving a country
subsidy – n. money that is paid usually by a government to keep the price of a product or service low or to help a business or organization to continue to function
sanctions – n. an action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country
appellate – adj. having the power to review and change the decisions of a lower court