China says it will sue the United States (US) through the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism over latest round of 15 percent tariffs on US$300 Billion in Chinese imports to the US - Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – China says it will sue the United States (US) through the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism over latest round of 15 percent tariffs on US$300 Billion in Chinese imports to the US, the official at commerce ministry said on Monday (09/03).

The latest escalation in both countries’ trade war, Washington began imposing 15 percent tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods and in the same day Beijing also began imposing new duties on US crude oil.

Starting Sunday (09/01), China started to impose additional tariffs on some of the American goods on a US$75-billion target list. The extra 5 and 10 percent tariffs were levied on 1,717 items of a total of 5,078 products originating from America and next on Dec. 15.

The two countries have begun imposing additional tariffs on each other’ goods in the latest escalation of their bruising trade war that has sent shockwaves through the global economy. The Trump administration will begin collecting 15 percent tariffs on more than $125 billion in Chinese imports.

The lawsuit is the third Beijing has brought to challenge US’ President Donald Trump’ tariffs at the WTO, the organization that limits the tariffs each country is allowed to charge. Under WTO rules, Washington has 60 days to try to settle the latest dispute.

Then China could ask the WTO to adjudicate, a process that would take several years. It could end with China gaining WTO approval to take trade sanctions, if the United States is found to have broken the rules.

In August 13, US has decided to postpone the imposition of new tariffs on imported products from China to limit holiday session. The US Trade Representative announced that it would postpone the imposition of a new import duty of 10 percent for various other Chinese products to Dec. 15, 2019.

Earlier, Trump also decided to impose a new tariffs on $300 billion’ Chinese goods which would be into effect on Sept. 1. He stated, “We are doing this in anticipation of Christmas, in case there is an impact on consumers. So we postpone it so that it does not affect the Christmas shopping season.”

Trump reportedly took the decision after receiving a report from Trade Representative Robert ‘Bob’ Lighthizer after had a telephone conversation with Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He, Chinese Trade Minister Zhong Shan, and the Governor of China’s central bank Yi Gang.

Based an official statement, the two sides agreed to meet again in this week. Moreover, some products will also be exempt from the new import duty. Trump has insisted that China “badly” wants a trade deal even though talks in Beijing turned to the prospect of a protracted and wider confrontation.

Recently, the president tweeted that “China wants to make a deal so badly. Thousands of companies are leaving because of the Tariffs, they must stem the flow. At the same time China may be hoping for a Democrat to win so they could continue the great ripoff of America, & the theft of hundreds of Billions of $’s!”

Despite Trump’ latest Twitter comments, the prospects for a deal between the two sides appeared to have dimmed last week after Washington officially labeled China as a currency manipulator, following Beijing’s decision to let the yuan exchange rate to weaken beyond the symbolic level of seven yuan to the dollar.

Trump said the meeting among Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and their Chinese counterparts were currently scheduled to take place. But he also emphasized that he was not ready to make any deal. Tariffs on another US$300 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to take place on September 1.

It marked an escalation of trade tensions between the world’ biggest economies after Beijing suspended its purchases of US farm products. The Chinese government has repeatedly rejected Trump’ claims that tariffs are causing an exodus of businesses from China and has also dismissed his accusations that China is ripping off or stealing from the US.

by Linda Silaen, Email: linda.silaen@theinsiderstories.com