U.S. questions WTO compliance of Chinese tariff hikes on semiconductors

September 25, 2017

The U.S. and other World Trade Organization members on Friday criticized China for increasing tariffs on semiconductor products, arguing that such practices do not comply with China’s commitments under the WTO’s Information Technology Agreement.

[Isabelle Hoagland | September 22, 2017 | Inside US Trade]

During a Sept. 22 WTO committee meeting on market access, the U.S. and five other members -- Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, the European Union and South Korea -- took aim at China’s recent tariff increases on 17 semiconductor products, which were implemented at the start of 2017. The countries argued that the hikes run counter to the premise the country committed to under the ITA, according to a Geneva trade official.

The ITA, which requires that its participants eliminate tariffs on IT products covered by the agreement, encompasses about 97 percent of world trade in IT products, according to the WTO.

Products covered under the agreement include semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, telecommunication devices, data storage systems and software parts.

During today’s meeting, the U.S. said that before Jan. 1 certain imported “integrated circuits” were able to enter Chinese markets duty-free under the auspices of its ITA commitments, according to the Geneva source.

The U.S. said China has since reclassified such products under new tariff lines, adding that such practices do not constitute a “technical issue” but rather “one that has direct implications on binding commitments."

 Read more at Inside US Trade

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