China launches WTO challenge against US intellectual property tariffs

A 'request for consultations' is the first step in a full blown legal challenge at the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body. 

Published: 05th April 2018 10:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th April 2018 10:29 PM   |  A+A-

China's flag image used for representational purposes


GENEVA: China has launched a World Trade Organization challenge against Washington's proposal to slap $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports over Beijing's alleged theft of intellectual property and technology, documents published Thursday showed. 

In the text released by the WTO, China's delegation requested "consultations" with Washington "concerning the proposed tariffs (and) measures that the United States accords to certain goods in various sectors including machinery, electronics, etc. originating in China."

A "request for consultations" is the first step in a full blown legal challenge at the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body. 

If the United States rejects the request, China will likely renew it, a move that would automatically send the case to formal arbitration, triggering a long legal battle between the world's top two economies at the WTO's internal court. 

President Donald Trump's administration announced the proposed tariffs last month. 

While the list of Chinese imports to be targeted has not been finalised and the measures have not yet come into force, Beijing has wasted no time in responding. 

It has unveiled plans for painful import duties targeting politically-sensitive US exports, including soybeans, aircraft and autos, to retaliate against the looming tariffs.

In its WTO filing, China argued that the measures are "inconsistent" with multiple articles of international trade law to which the United States has agreed.

Beijing is expected to launch a separate WTO challenge against Washington's tariffs on steel and aluminium, but the documents, in that case, have not yet been filed with the Geneva-based organisation. 

Meanwhile, the United States has initiated its own WTO case against China over what Washington describes as Beijing's intellectual property breaches, including a failure to respect foreign patent holders. 

Tit-for-tat disputes at the WTO may prove to be just one battleground in a broader trade confrontation between the two powers, with fears rising of an all-out trade war. 


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp