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WTO: China Duties On U.S. Steel Unfair

In a ruling Thursday, the WTO appeals panel said China was wrong in the way it put duties on U.S.-made grain-oriented flat-rolled electrical steel. China had argued that the tariffs were legitimate because U.S. "Buy American" provisions and state government procurement laws amount to a subsidy for the products, which are used in items such as transformers.

GENEVA (AP) -- An appeals panel of the World Trade Organization has upheld a ruling that China unfairly imposed import tariffs on a high-technology U.S. steel product.

In a ruling Thursday, the WTO appeals panel said China was wrong in the way it put duties on U.S.-made grain-oriented flat-rolled electrical steel. China had argued that the tariffs were legitimate because U.S. "Buy American" provisions and state government procurement laws amount to a subsidy for the products, which are used in items such as transformers.

The ruling backed an earlier WTO finding in June based on a 2010 U.S. complaint.

Countries can impose punitive tariffs to offset damage from subsidies, but the U.S. contends China used the measures in a way that hurts American exporters.

Said Scott Paul, Executive Director, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM):

"The World Trade Organization has once again upheld a major Administration trade enforcement action against China. This ruling ensures that American workers and businesses that make certain types of steel won’t face Chinese retaliatory tariffs. I’m certain that the WTO will also rule against China for its attempted retaliation against American auto and poultry producers, as well. The lesson is clear: asserting our rights to trade enforcement is effective, and the US will win these cases. We need to continue to stand up for American workers and businesses and challenge the unfair trade practices of China and other nations."

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