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International Relations

A World Trade Organization arbitrator on Friday authorised China to slap tariffs on U.S. imports worth up to $3.58 billion annually in a years-long dispute over U.S. anti-dumping practices, a trade official said.

China had asked the WTO for permission to hit the U.S. with more than $7 billion in tariffs in the case.

But the WTO ruling said it had determined that the illegal U.S. anti-dumping practices had caused “nullification or impairment of benefits accruing to China” to the tune of $3,579.128 million, and that Beijing could impose tariffs on goods not exceeding that amount per year.

The decision marks the first time the WTO has authorised China to impose tariffs in a trade dispute.

Beijing still needs to formally request the right to impose that or a lesser sum in tariffs, but it would take opposition from every WTO member to block such a request.

In this specific case, China alleged that the United States, in violation of WTO rules, was continuing a practice known as “zeroing”, which calculates the price of imports compared to the normal value in the U.S. to determine predatory pricing.

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