The United States has for the first time challenged China’s compliance with a World Trade Organisation ruling, claiming the country had failed to make changes ordered by a WTO dispute resolution panel.
The dispute alleges China refused to comply with a 2012 ruling that barred the country from imposing duties on a type of heavy steel manufactured in the US. The complaint asserted that the inaction was costing US companies about $250m per year.
“We have requested consultations with China on its failure to bring antidumping and countervailing duties on US exports of GOES (grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel) into compliance with its WTO obligations”, said Mike Froman, US trade representative, on Monday.
The original ruling was issued in late 2012 by a WTO dispute panel. It found that China’s move to impose the duties was not consistent with international trade law and ruled in favour of the US.
“Unfortunately, it appears that China has not corrected those inconsistencies. Today’s action shows that when the United States steps up to the plate on trade enforcement, we will follow through”, Mr Froman said.
GOES are a type of high-tech, magnetic steel primarily used in electric transformers and nuclear reactors.
The challenge comes as President Barack Obama’s attempts to implement an ambitious trade agenda. His administration has urged Congress to pass “fast-track” legislation to facilitate the passage of both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – two of the largest trade negotiations in history.
Mr Obama’s push, however, is being met with resistance from congressional Democrats who remain sceptical about the benefits of such agreements, particularly those in “rust-belt” states that have experienced losses in manufacturing due to previous trade liberalisation.
The Obama Administration has also emphasised using enforcement mechanisms as a means to promote the benefits of trade and to combat perceptions that trade has adverse effects on jobs and the economy.
“It’s important for the public to understand we are taking these steps”, said a USTR attorney working on the case.
US trade enforcement cases and actions have more than doubled since Mr Obama took office in 2009.
美国发起这一挑战之际，巴拉克?奥巴马(Barack Obama)总统正试图落实一项雄心勃勃的贸易议程。他的政府已敦促国会通过“快速通道”(fast-track)立法，以确保跨太平洋伙伴关系(TPP)和跨大西洋贸易与投资伙伴关系(Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)——史上规模最大的两项贸易谈判——顺利通过。