WTO rules against China for continuing steel duties

Didn’t comply with earlier ruling on tariffs for high-tech specialty steel.

WASHINGTON — The World Trade Organization says China broke global trade rules by failing to comply with an earlier WTO ruling and continuing to impose duties on specialty steel imports.

The decision announced July 31 was a victory for the US and steelmakers AK Steel in West Chester, Ohio, and Allegheny Ludlum in Waynesboro, Penn.

The case dates back to 2010 when China imposed duties on a high-tech specialty steel used in power plants. Saying the duties violated trade rules, the US took the case to the WTO and won. Despite the ruling, China reintroduced duties on the steel in 2013. The US went back to the WTO, charging that China was not complying with the earlier decision.

“When China decided to maintain its WTO illegal duties, we did not hesitate to challenge that action,” US Trade Rep. Michael Froman said in a statement. “The WTO report confirms we were right.” China eliminated the duties a few months ago.

The US says the duties cost American steelmakers more than $200 million in annual exports.

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