The World Trade Organization (WTO) said in a report that the Trump administration has imposed multibillion-dollar tariffs on Chinese imports, which violated international trading rules, as reported by Reuters on September 15. WTO commented that the US tariffs only targeted China and exceeded the agreed maximum level. In response, the White House claimed that the duties on USD200bn Chinese goods were justified, referring to alleged IP thefts and forced tech transfer by China. WTO also urged the two countries to resolve their trade disputes.
According to Reuters, US President Donald Trump once threatened to impose tariffs on over USD500bn worth of Chinese goods until the two countries reached an initial trade agreement in January. Specifically, in May 2019, the US government lifted the 10% tariff rate on USD200bn Chinese imports to 25%, which mainly involved data transmission products such as modems and routers. As the US government has been accusing China of stealing IPs and forcing American firms to transfer technologies in exchange for market access, China has agreed to improve legal frameworks for IP protection under the phase one-trade deal. In August, China’s exports to the US rose 20% YoY, up 7.5 percentage points from July.