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U.S. double remedies in question after WTO report

Years of U.S. double remedies against Chinese exports have been brought under the spotlight, raising concerns of trade unfairness, a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel report concluded.

Twenty-five parallel U.S. countervailing duty (CVD) and anti-dumping proceedings initiated between 2006 and 2012 against imports from China led to complaints that the measures were adding up to repeated remedies.

The report, published on Thursday, ruled that the United States failed to investigate its CVD and anti-dumping measures and the acts were inconsistent with trade rules.

China said the cases involved 24 Chinese products in industrial, new energy, chemical and agricultural sectors, with their annual exports value to the U.S. estimated at more than 7 billion U.S. dollars.

Yang Guohua, vice director of the treaty and law department under the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), told Xinhua that the launch of the U.S. CVD and anti-dumping duties against certain Chinese products and the U.S. GPX Act are two established practices that lead to two rounds of remedies.

"When the U.S. commerce department levies anti-dumping duties on Chinese products, the subsidies have been taken into account because it is referencing a surrogate country price, so the extra CVD can be translated to repeated remedies, or double remedies," Yang said.

He said the cases were grouped together for a WTO dispute settlement because they all revealed a "common institutional mistake" by the U.S.. Yang added such an approach in seeking dispute settlements would be a regular practice in the future to enhance efficiency.

With the release of the panel report, China's key concern focused on a U.S. tariff act amendment, known as the GPX Act that was passed in 2012, authorizing U.S. commerce authorities to initiate anti-subsidy measures on non-market economy countries.

But China said the launching of anti-subsidy probes by the U.S. on products from China had actually started since 2006 without legal basis. The passing of the act in 2012 sought to retroactively ratify the legitimacy of U.S. anti-subsidy measures.

China believed the act violated WTO rules and initiated WTO dispute settlement procedures in 2012. However, the majority of the panel ruled the U.S. anti-subsidy measures were consistent with WTO rules, despite disagreement from one panelist who said the act pushed up a rate of duty or other charge on imports from China "under an established and uniform practice" by the U.S..

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said China regretted the findings. He said China hoped the U.S. would stop its wrongdoing as soon as possible, to preserve fair competition for Chinese enterprises.

"I think the panel report findings are a draw result between China and the United States. I think China can continue to seek legal actions against controversial cases, which involve the dubious GPX Act," said Zuo Haicong, dean of Nankai University School of Law.

Under WTO's legal procedures, a final ruling is expected in three to four months, but before that, involved parties can lodge appeals within 60 days after the panel report release.

[Source: By Xinhua writer Zhu Shaobin, Xinhua, Beijing, 28Mar14]

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small logoThis document has been published on 31Mar14 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.