World Trade Organization appellate body rules in favor of U.S. on tire dispute

From Sen. Stabenow’s office

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has announced that the United States won a landmark World Trade Organization (WTO) case. The WTO Appellate Body found in favor of the United States in a dispute brought by China challenging America’s duties on imported Chinese tires.  A WTO panel had earlier rejected all of China’s claims against the United States, finding that the U.S. acted consistently with its WTO obligations in imposing the additional duties. The Appellate Body, in turn, also rejected all of China’s claims on appeal.

On Sept. 11, 2009, the President imposed additional duties on imports of certain passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China for a period of three years in order to remedy the market disruption caused by those imports, as determined by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC). This safeguard measure was imposed in response to a petition filed by the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers Union under section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 2451). Section 421 implements the transitional safeguard contained in Section 16 of China’s  Protocol of Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

China alleged that the USITC’s determination regarding market disruption and the level and duration of the additional duties were inconsistent with the Protocol of Accession and the GATT 1994. In addition, China alleged that the  section 421 definition of “significant cause” was in and of itself inconsistent with the Protocol of Accession.  A WTO panel sided with the United States and rejected all of China’s claims in a report circulated in Dec. 2010. China appealed with respect to the panel’s findings regarding the USITC determination.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow applauded the U.S. Trade Representative for winning the case, saying: “This is a key ruling for fair trade.  It is extremely important that we aggressively stand up for American businesses and workers in the global economy to stop our jobs from being shipped overseas.  That’s why I’m working on legislation to increase enforcement of our trade agreements and bring an end to currency manipulation to stop other countries from cheating our businesses and workers.”

The Appellate Body’s report can be found at


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