Published:  12:59 AM, 12 September 2018

China seeks WTO backing for sanctions

China seeks WTO backing for sanctions A worker places US and China flags near the Forbidden City ahead of a visit by US President Donald Trump to Beijing, in Beijing, China. -Reuters

China will ask the World Trade Organization (WTO) next week for permission to impose sanctions on the United States, for Washington's non-compliance with a ruling in a dispute over US dumping duties, a meeting agenda showed on Tuesday.

The request is likely to lead to years of legal wrangling over the case for sanctions and the amount. China initiated the dispute in 2013, complaining about U.S. dumping duties on several industries including machinery and electronics, light industry, metals and minerals, with an annual export value of up to $8.4 billion.

It won a WTO ruling in 2016, which was confirmed by an appeal last year. The case concerned the US Commerce Department's way of calculating the amount of "dumping" - Chinese exports that are priced to undercut American-made goods on the U.S. market.

The US calculation method, known as "zeroing", tended to increase the level of U.S. anti-dumping duties on foreign producers and was repeatedly ruled to be illegal in a series of trade disputes brought to the WTO. 

The string of US defeats fueled US President Donald Trump's campaign to reform the WTO. Trump said last month the United States could withdraw from the WTO if "they don't shape up".

China told the WTO last month that the deadline for the United States to comply with the ruling expired on Aug. 22. The WTO published an agenda on Tuesday for a meeting of its dispute settlement body on Sept. 21, showing China planned to take the legal step of asking for authorization for sanctions.

---Reuters, Geneva

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