The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled on Friday that the emergency tariffs imposed by the United States on steel imports were in breach of WTO rules, said a Chinese official from the Ministry of Commerce Saturday.
A WTO panel of trade experts said in a report that the US safeguard measures were inconsistent with WTO's global trade rules.
The WTO report will be passed by the WTO Appellate Body for trade disputes if there is no appeal, according to the WTO's trade dispute settlement rules.
In a joint statement released on Friday, the eight complainants in the case -- the European Union (EU), China, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand and Brazil -- welcomed the panel's ruling and called upon the United States to "terminate its WTO incompatible safeguard measures without delay."
If the US government appeals the Panel's decision, the co-complainants will continue to work together to ensure that the WTO Appellate Body will confirm that the US steel duties violate global trade rules, the joint statement said.
On March 5, 2002, US President George W. Bush introduced the tariffs of up to 30 percent emergency tariffs on 10 types of imported steels in the name of protecting the ailing US steel industry.
From March to May 2002, the eight complainants in the case challenged in the WTO against the US steel safeguard measures.
A panel of trade experts was formed for the case, in which Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela are the third parties.
This is the first time that China has used the WTO's trade dispute settlement rules to safeguard its international trade and the legitimate rights and interests of its industry after the country's entry into the WTO in 2001.
(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2003)