OPINIONS WTO ruling makes it clear who is doing trade bullying


WTO ruling makes it clear who is doing trade bullying

China Daily

08:27, January 30, 2023

A logo is seen at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters before a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct 5, 2022. Photo/Agencies

At a meeting on Friday in Geneva on trade disputes shortly after the United States lodged an appeal against a series of World Trade Organization rulings involving China, Turkiye, Norway and Switzerland which found that US metal tariffs breached global rules, Chinese Ambassador to the WTO Li Chenggang called the US "a unilateral bully, a rule breaker, and a supply chain disruptor".

That is a justified claim, as well as the view of many countries bullied by the US in trade.

The WTO dispute settlement mechanism made rulings against the US late last year including the aforementioned metals ruling involving China and a separate dispute with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China over labeling which Washington also appealed against.

As predicted, the US, a long-time critic of the world trade body's dispute settlement system and a saboteur of it, has criticized both rulings, claiming overreach.

It is ridiculous that the US has taken it as an opportunity to accuse China of imposing "illegal unilateral retaliatory measures" on US exports without saying that it was its own unilateral trade bullying behaviors that had left Beijing no choice but to act reciprocally to defend its rights and interests.

Shame onUS Deputy Trade Representative Maria Pagan for blaming the WTO for its rulings against the US by calling it an organization "that serves to shield China's non-market policies and practices", as if the US' trade war, long-arm jurisdiction behaviors, rules-bending state subsidies, clique-building practices and decoupling attempts are all "market policies".

Pagan should be reminded that as for the metal disputes, the WTO rulings have protected the interests of at least Turkiye, Norway and Switzerland as well, and the US should be reminded that as long as it wants to stay in the world trading system it must follow the rules that it has agreed on, and it cannot impose its own rules upon others.

Li said, China hoped that the US would show due self-restraint and not appeal against every unfavorable panel report into a void that it had created itself.

The WTO will not be able to review Washington's appeal of the metals case because its top appeals bench is paralyzed after the US blocked the appointment of new judges. That should serve to expose to all what a destructive role the US has been playing in the WTO and the rules-based international order and global supply chains as a whole.

In response to Li's reasonable criticism of the US on trade issues, which should spur any sensible mind on the US side to review the nature of its behavior and rectify its malpractices, Pagan told the media "You can call us whatever names you want".

That shows how shameless the US trade policymakers have become in the poisoned atmosphere of US domestic politics, and how far they are divorced from reality and have drifted away from common sense.

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