China Issues World Trade Organization Challenge to Washington’s Proposed $200 Billion Tariff Threat

A World Trade Organization (WTO) logo is pictured on its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, June 3, 2016. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

Beijing filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Monday over the Trump administration’s latest tariff threat.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce threatened to file the complaint last week after the Trump administration announced it was compiling a list of $200 billion in Chinese goods to be hit with ten percent tariffs. The proposed tariffs, the latest development in the now months-long escalating trade war, would not go into effect until September and it remains unclear exactly what goods they would effect.

“We are unable to fight equally,” Tu Xingquan, director of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Associated Press.

The Trump administration has harshly criticized the WTO for failing to constrain China and the imbalanced trade relationship it enjoys with the U.S.

In contrast, the complaint “indicates that [China] values the role of the WTO rules,” according to Tu.

Beijing responded dollar-for-dollar earlier this month after Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods in retaliation for Chinese pressure on American companies to turn over proprietary technology in exchange for access to Chinese markets.

Due to the trade deficit, Beijing only has roughly $80 billion in American imports left to tax and has not yet responded to the latest tariff threat with a threat of its own.

“There might be some adjustment in China’s approach to countermeasures,” according to Tu.

American business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce have cautioned the Trump administration against continuing to escalate the multiple trade wars currently being waged against North American and European allies, as well as China.

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