The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has told the US it has improperly placed tariffs on goods from China and India, including renewable energy equipment, on the grounds these were sold at a too low a price and benefitted from unfair state subsidies.
The US tariffs were imposed on Indian steel products and on a wide range of Chinese goods, such as solar panels, wind towers, thermal paper, coated paper, drill pipes and more.
The WTO has ruled against America imposing ‘countervailing duties’, which are allowed only when the exporters are ‘public bodies’, while Chinese firms are in fact state-owned or partially state-owned.
The US was claiming the production costs of the Chinese goods are too low and benefit from subsidies from the Chinese government. However, some of the complaints put forward by China have been rejected.
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In a separate ruling, the US has also been told to change the way it prices Indian steel.
China’s foreign trade ministry said, “China urges the United States to respect the WTO rulings and correct its wrongdoings of abusively using trade remedy measures, and to ensure an environment of fair competition for Chinese enterprises.”
US trade representative Michael Froman defended the tariffs saying these were placed to protect domestic businesses and workers.
“With respect to the other findings in the panel report, the administration is carefully evaluating its options, and will take all appropriate steps to ensure that US remedies against unfair subsidies remain strong and effective,” he said.
In Europe, cheap solar panels manufactured in China have also been the subject of controversy, with the EU Commission agreeing to allow China to sell its products as long as they are sold for more than the minimum price.
Photo: Christine via flickr