China files WTO challenge to Trump’s $200-billion tariff plan

Farmer Don Bloss, left, talks to his son Mark as truck driver Jeff Liberty, right, supervises the loading of corn onto his truck in Pawnee City, Neb.
(Nati Harnik / Associated Press)

China announced Monday it has filed a World Trade Organization challenge to President Trump’s proposal for a tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese goods, reacting swiftly amid deepening concern about the economic impact of their spiraling technology dispute.

The one-sentence Commerce Ministry statement gave no legal grounds for the challenge or other details. It is an unusually rapid move for a trade case, coming less than a week after the U.S. Trade Representative announced the tariff plan, which wouldn’t take effect until at least September.

The USTR said last week that it proposed the levy in response to Beijing’s decision to retaliate for U.S. tariff hikes over complaints China is hurting American companies by stealing or pressuring foreign enterprises to hand over technology.


China criticized the move but has yet to say whether it would retaliate for the second round of tariffs. Its lopsided trade balance with the United States means it has only $80 billion of annual imports of American goods left for retaliation following its earlier measures.

Beijing has stepped up diplomatic efforts to recruit support from Europe, South Korea and other trading partners but so far the effort has been without success.