China seeks $2.4 billion in penalties against U.S. at WTO

At the New York Stock Exchange

At the New York Stock Exchange

Retaliatory sanctions of $2.4 billion sought by China for US non-compliance with a WTO ruling from an Obama-era tariffs case also raised concerns about the fragile trade negotiations between the two superpowers.

A document published Monday showed China has called for the matter to be considered by the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body next Monday.

USA officials could challenge the sanction amount, which could result in arbitration.

At issues in the dispute are countervailing measures imposed by the United States that affected items including thermal paper, pressure pipe and kitchen shelving.

WTO appeals judges had ruled in July that the United States did not fully comply with a WTO ruling and could face Chinese sanctions if it does not remove certain tariffs that break the watchdog's rules.

The U.S. has said that China uses its state-owned enterprises (SOE) to gain advantages in global trade and "distort" prices of certain goods.

Alan Wolff, deputy director-general of the WTO, the highest-ranking American in the organization, declined to comment on the specific case at an event hosted by a Washington think tank.

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The case wound its way for several years through the WTO's complex dispute settlement in process.

The dispute stems from a 2012 complaint by the Chinese against USA countervailing duties - tariffs meant to counter subsidies placed on certain goods by the Chinese.

"Traders are still betting on slowing global growth and are convinced that this will lead to an oversupply of oil", said Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at the Price Futures Group brokerage in Chicago.

"The WTO appellate report undermines WTO rules, making them less effective to counteract China SOE subsidies that are harming U.S. workers and businesses and distorting markets worldwide", the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.

But the ruling also said the United States must accept Chinese prices to measure subsidies, even though USTR viewed those prices as "distorted".

US President Donald Trump on Monday (Oct 21) said efforts to end a trade war with China were going well as the world's two largest economies continued to battle over trade and politics across the world despite heralding a long-awaited truce this month. -China trade agreement was coming along well. On Friday he said a trade deal between the world's two largest economies will be signed by the time the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings take place in Chile on November 16 and 17.

Meanwhile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is throwing doubt on when that trade deal announced earlier this month will be signed.

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