WTO backs U.S. in case against China duties on steel

GENEVA/WASHINGTON, Fri Jun 15, 2012 – A World Trade Organisation panel on Friday ruled in favor of the United States in a case against import duties imposed by China on a specialty steel product used in power transformers.

“With respect to each of the 11 programs at issue, the panel concluded that China had acted inconsistently” with WTO rules governing the use of countervailing duties, the panel said in its ruling.

The case involved Chinese duties on potentially hundreds of millions of dollars of “grain-oriented flat-rolled electrical steel” (GOES), a specialty steel product made by AK Steel Corp of Ohio and ATI Allegheny Ludlum of Pennsylvania.

“Today’s victory is important not only for steelworkers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but also for American farmers and workers in other sectors that export to China,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.

“The panel upheld our claims that China’s duties on U.S. exports of steel products failed to comply with many WTO rules. This decision sends another clear signal to China that it must do more to fulfill its WTO commitments, and that it will be held accountable to play by WTO rules,” he said.

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