China has challenged the United State’s alleged discriminatory trade practices in the form of import duties on 22 Chinese products by asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to look into the matter. According to Chinese officials, this practice has resulted in loss worth $7.3 billion to their country.
US officials have claimed that the 22 products - including steel products, solar panels, pipes and coated papers – have been subsidized and unfairly prized. The issue has triggered trade conflicts between the two leading economies of the world.
"The relevant practices constitute the abuse of trade remedy measures which undermines the legitimate interests of China's enterprises," said a statement by the Chinese mission to the WTO, according to the China Daily’s report.
According to reports, China has targeted the US Commerce Department in it’s complain to the WTO. The department maintains that the 22 products are channeled via Chinese state owned corporations and have been heavily subsidized, thus giving them competitive advantage over US products.
According to Reuters, China's Ministry of Commerce has said that, "China firmly opposes the abuse of trade remedy measures and trade protectionism.”
China moved its grievance by calling for talks with the US via the WTO. In case that does not succeed, China will ask for a verdict by a WTO jury, which can order the United States to stop practices violating provisions of its free trade commitment, or to compensate China for damages.
US trade experts have said that China did not show its intention on entering a total trade war with the US. If it does, that would be counterproductive for China at a time when the Chinese economy is showing signs of slowing down.
“From the broad strategic standpoint, it’s more of the tit-for-tatting that goes on with the U.S. and China in these trade barrier disputes,” C. Fred Bergsten, head of the Peterson Institute, said, according to a report in the Washington Post. “I don’t think it’s anything like a trade war. At most, it is a skirmish over products that make up a tiny, tiny share of the trade between the two countries.”
Shen Danyang, China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesperson, has said that the United States has violated the WTO rules and continued trade practices that had been termed ‘discriminatory’ by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body declaration.