GENEVA: A panel of trade experts was created on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) at US behest to test China’s claim that it has complied with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules regarding duties on certain US steel products.
Washington has questioned China’s claim that it has brought its duties on US exports of grain-oriented flat-rolled electrical steel into compliance with WTO rules.
The creation of the experts’ panel was decided at a meeting of the global trade body’s Dispute Settlement Board (DSB).
The US representative at Wednesday’s meeting expressed “serious concerns” over China’s failure to follow a DSB ruling from 2012 compelling it to bring its duties into WTO compliance.
China, meanwhile, insisted that it had fully fallen in line with the DSB ruling and said it was “disappointed” with the US request for a panel.
China “always respects DSB recommendations and rulings and implements them in good faith,” the Chinese representative at the meeting said, insisting Beijing had already “greatly reduced the anti-dumping as well as countervailing duty rates.”
The expert panel has three months to put together its findings on the dispute.
The process marks the first time Washington has launched a proceeding in the Geneva-based international trade body to challenge a claim by China that it has complied in a WTO dispute.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman said last month that China’s actions cut off more than $250 million in US exports of the high-tech steel product, used primarily in the power-generating industry.
The magnetic US rolled steel is made by AK Steel Corp. based in Ohio, and Allegheny Ludlum, based in Pennsylvania.
The dispute dates back to September 2010, when Washington accused China of breaching trade rules by not providing sufficient evidence that anti-dumping duties were needed on US imports of the specialist steel.
In June 2012, the WTO ruled in favor of the US complaint. China, after losing an appeal, pledged in November that year to change its restrictive policy to comply with the ruling.