Daily Archives: May 24, 2014

China loses at the WTO, again

Stock photo: Hans Mahncke

Stock photo: Hans Mahncke

Interesting development at the WTO, where China has lost another anti-dumping case against the US, this one involving imports of US cars. This is the third time now that China has lost to the US with respect to China’s unlawful imposition of import duties, after it also lost cases on Chicken and on Steel imports in the past two years.

The wider issue pertains to the fact that China is the world’s biggest target of anti-dumping duties – something that it often complains about. However, the apparent tactic of fighting fire with fire seems to be backfiring badly. Perhaps it is down to China’s relative inexperience at using trade barriers in tit-for-tat efforts – after all, the latest round of suing each other at the WTO started after President Obama started taking a tougher line on Chinese trade in 2009. In turn, Chinese leaders apparently decided to use trade barriers as a means of sending the US a message, so this loss will be particularly painful in a society where nearly everything involves “face”.

The intellectually honest way of dealing with the incessant claims of dumping that are made against China, would be to highlight the hypocrisy of the West’s anti-dumping regimes and co-opting the WTO and its dispute settlement mechanism towards getting rid of those regimes. Instead, China seems to have decided to join them rather than beat them, a move that is having detrimental effect all around – aside of course from the lawyers, who seem to be the only ones reaping a benefit.

You can download a summary or the whole WTO report here: http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news14_e/440r_e.htm