Sep 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

World Trade Organization rules Trump's China tariffs are illegal

Trump and Xi

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

A World Trade Organization panel ruled on Tuesday that the Trump administration's tariffs on over $500 billion worth of Chinese goods violate international rules, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: It may be a rhetorical victory for Beijing, which has denounced Trump's trade war, but the ruling will have no binding effect. President Trump has blocked all new appointments to the WTO's dispute-resolution court, rendering the international body effectively toothless.

What they're saying: “This panel report confirms what the Trump Administration has been saying for four years: The WTO is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

  • "Although the panel did not dispute the extensive evidence submitted by the United States of intellectual property theft by China, its decision shows that the WTO provides no remedy for such misconduct.
  • "The United States must be allowed to defend itself against unfair trade practices, and the Trump administration will not let China use the WTO to take advantage of American workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers."

Go deeper: By blocking new appointments, Trump destroys WTO's top court

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