February 15, 2015

Obama Administration Files WTO Suit Against China

Last Wednesday the Obama administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) that accused China of providing more than $1 billion in illegal export subsidies to several industries, including the advanced metals industry. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the complaint will ensure that the U.S. “leads and defines the rules of the road.” Ambassador Froman also pledged a “decisive, effective enforcement of our trade rights.” 

According to The New York Times, the Obama administration hopes the WTO suit will help build support for passage of Trade Promotion Authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Congress. The Times also suggests the move might have worked. The newspaper quotes Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), a key opponent of the president’s trade agenda and a strong supporter of adding currency provisions to trade legislation on Capitol Hill, said, “The administration has shown through its action today the importance of W.T.O. rules that protect American manufacturing jobs and businesses … This case is clear cut: These types of export subsidies are prohibited because they profoundly distort trade and create serious disadvantages for competition.” 

Members of House Democratic leadership also praised the administration’s action.