On Tuesday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that the US, led by Trump-administration, had breached global trading rules by imposing multibillion-dollar tariffs in its trade war with China.
A three-person panel of WTO trade experts said that duties imposed by Washington on broke trading rules as they were only imposed on China and were above the maximum rates agreed to by the US. It concluded that the US had not adequately explained why its measures were a justified exception.
However, the judgement drew anger from the Trump administration. "This panel report confirms what the Trump administration has been saying for four years: the WTO is completely inadequate to stop China's harmful technology practices," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
The administration said that tariffs it imposed on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods two years ago were justified as China was stealing intellectual property and forcing American companies to transfer technology for access to China's markets.
While the decision will have little immediate effect on US tariffs, Washington has 60 days to appeal the decision under WTO rules.
China's Commerce Ministry, on the other hand, said that Beijing supported the multilateral trading system and respected WTO rules and rulings, and hoped Washington would do the same.
The WTO panel noted that it had looked only into the US measures and not China's retaliation, which Washington has not challenged at the WTO.