A statement from the Chinese government delivered to a WTO disputes settlement body meeting staged on Wednesday (June 22) in Geneva said China was “disappointed” that Washington had requested the creation of a panel, which has nonetheless been accepted by Beijing. The Chinese government claimed that it had “engaged constructively and in good faith” in bilateral diplomatic talks ahead of the American request. Moreover “China believes its challenged measures are fully in compliance with the WTO rules,” said the statement.
The USA rebuffed the Chinese arguments, however, claiming that China had flouted a July 2014 deadline to bring its anti-dumping and countervailing duties on American broiler products in line with commitments made by China under the WTO’s agreement on anti-dumping, and its agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures.
The WTO will now set up a panel of experts to assess Washington’s claims. A ruling could come later this year, and while China could appeal a negative decision, if that failed, the WTO could authorise the USA to impose retaliatory duties on Chinese exports. The European Union (EU), Canada, Japan all said they were interested in participating in the dispute as third parties.
Washington claims that that China had re-established protective measures already found by the WTO to be breaking global trading laws, when Beijing announced in 2014 that its anti-dumping and countervailing duties would be reinstated. Problems included that an assessment by China’s commerce ministry of the impact of alleged US cut-priced broiler product exports did not involve an “objective examination of the record.”
In its statement to Wednesday’s meeting, the US argued that trade data proved that the increase in American broiler product exports to China had not increased “at the expense of the domestic industry” and moreover that a large proportion of the products that the Chinese government did not like, “consisted of products that could not have been injurious” to the commercial health of the Chinese broiler sector. Also interested parties in the dispute did not have time to see all non-confidential information related to the case and the ministry had “failed to set forth sufficient detail in its findings and conclusions of law and fact.”