WTO circulates panel report on U.S. complaint over Chinese auto duties

Date : 2014-05-30  | From : Xinhua

An experts' panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled on Friday that part of China's anti-dumping and countervailing measures on certain automobiles from the United States were inconsistent with WTO rules, meanwhile rejected certain claims raised by the United States.

The panel circulated a report on the dispute brought by the United States to the world trade watchdog in 2012, which concerned Chinese duties imposed the U.S.-made autos with an engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger.

The report found that China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) erred in its determination of the residual anti-dumping and countervailing duty rates for unknown exporters of the subject product, and concluded that these residual duty rates did not conform to the requirements of the Anti-Dumping Agreement and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement).

The panel also found a number of inconsistencies relating to MOC's price effects and causation determinations, contrary to the requirements defined by the above two agreements.

Besides, the panel found that MOC erred in failing to provide interested parties with adequate non-confidential summaries of certain confidential information in the petition, and failed to disclose to U.S. respondents the essential facts which formed the basis of its decision to impose definitive anti-dumping duties.

Meanwhile, the panel rejected the claims from the United States that MOC's definition of the domestic industry in the investigations at issue was inconsistent with certain provisions of Anti-Dumping Agreement and the SCM Agreement.

It also rejected the U.S. claims that public notices of MOC failed to disclose the essential facts and findings and conclusions reached on all issues of fact and law considered material by the ministry in relation to the determination of the residual duty rates.

The United States requested consultations with China over the latter's anti-dumping and countervailing duties over U.S.-made autos in July 2012, and in October 2012 a panel was established to probe into the dispute.

MOC started to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of U.S. cars and sport utility vehicles with an engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger in December 2011, following an open investigation in accordance with the WTO rules and upon petitions from domestic enterprises.

Investigations into the auto market showed that U.S. auto makers have received government subsidies and dumped their vehicles into the Chinese market, which has substantially harmed China's auto industry, MOC spokesman Shen Danyang said in 2011.

China has since levied anti-dumping tariffs from 2 percent to 21.5 percent, and imposed countervailing duties of up to 12.9 percent according to the level of subsidies U.S. carmakers received from their government, both of which expired on Dec. 14, 2013.