Published: Tue, July 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

US challenges China, EU and others at WTO over steel tariffs

US challenges China, EU and others at WTO over steel tariffs

US President Donald J. Trump this month implemented tariffs on an initial $34 billion of imports from China, which retaliated in kind.

The Trump administration has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe as well as on products from Mexico, Canada and China, sparking retaliation and fears of a trade war.

Playing host to Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need to uphold free trade and multilateralism as the United States and China become increasingly mired in a trade dispute, with no sign of negotiations on the horizon.

The U.S. wins 87% of the cases it brings to the WTO against other countries and loses 75% of the cases other countries bring against Washington, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the 524 cases lodged at the Geneva-based organization since it was founded in 1995 as the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Besides the steel and aluminium tariffs on United States trading partners, in July Trump implemented tariffs on $34bn worth of Chinese imports, drawing a tit-for-tat response from Beijing.

China's economic expansion slowed in line with expectations, signaling broadly stable output as the trade conflict with the USA intensifies.

On March 8, Trump concurred with the Secretary of Commerce's finding and imposed tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

But while Beijing and Brussels have gotten closer amid trade war concerns sparked by Washington's tariffs, they apparently remain at odds over issues such as technology transfer and protecting intellectual property.

He echoed European Union calls for a reform of the WTO and agreed to form a joint working group on the issue.

Donald and Melania trump met with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor castle
Speaking about a trade deal, Mr Trump said: 'I think we're going to have a great trade deal, I've really no doubt about it. We met, but also watching the guard, hearing the sounds, being in that place, that very special place.

The China-EU meeting produced a communique affirming the commitment of both sides to the multilateral trading system.

The Center for China in the World Economy hinted that China could strike back by sanctioning Apple.

On Monday, China and the European Union also confirmed that they will work in tandem to reform and modernize the World Trade Organization, established in 1995, to reflect developments in the global economy.

The meetings will also cover China's Belt and Road Initiative and geopolitical concerns in Burma, Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea. And in March 2018, WIPO numbers revealed that China had filed more worldwide patent applications in 2017 than any other country, except the United States.

"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as United States 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.

He expects China's consumer prices to maintain mild growth in the second half, as the prices of food items including pork and cooking oil, likely to be pushed up by more expensive imported soybeans, are still relatively low.

"The US doesn't have and won't have a better ally than the EU".

Mao, the statistics bureau spokesman, declined to say how much the dispute might hurt Chinese economic growth.

Beijing and Brussels are in the process of negotiating a bilateral investment treaty, which is meant to provide more legal protection and market access for investors on both sides.

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