China files appeal against WTO panel report on US steel, aluminium tariffs

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has filed an appeal against a World Trade Organization panel report that recognised the U.S.’ actions on steel and aluminium as security measures, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Tuesday.

A WTO dispute settlement panel last month ruled in favour of Washington over a tariff dispute with Beijing, stating that it found China had acted inconsistently with its WTO obligations by imposing additional duties on U.S. goods in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The U.S. imposed a 25% duty on steel imports and a 10% duty on aluminium imports from countries including China in 2018 under the Donald Trump administration. In response, Beijing announced additional duties to be applied to certain imports originating in the U.S.

The Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement that the WTO panel’s ruling contains “legal errors”.

The imposition of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imports was “a unilateral and protectionist measure that had been found to violate WTO rules”, the ministry said.

China urges the U.S. to take “practical actions”, respect WTO rules and rectify its “illegal measures” as soon as possible, it said.

Beijing’s appeal comes at time when tensions between China and the U.S. remain high despite recent efforts to mend their ties.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was in Beijing last month, the latest Biden administration official to visit China this year in a bid to strengthen communications amid worries that frictions between the two could spiral out of control.

(Reporting by Ethan Wang and Ryan Woo in Beijing, Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Jan Harvey)