(Yicai Global) Jan. 13 -- The US government instituted a formal proceeding with the World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday, accusing China's aluminum producer subsidy policy of violating WTO rules and harming the interests of US aluminum producers.
A statement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative on Jan. 12 alleges China "appears" to have offered huge subsidies for raw aluminum producers through cheap bank lending and low-cost power and raw material supplies, thus "artificially" raising China's production capacity and volume and market share, and feeding overcapacity in global aluminum stocks. The subsidy policy "seems" to contravene relevant WTO rules, says the office, and has inflicted "serious damage" on the interests of US aluminum producers and their employees.
This is the 16th trade proceeding the Obama Administration has brought before the WTO. Per WTO rules, a request for consultation is the first step in a trade dispute settlement. If consultation fails, the party initiating the proceeding may ask the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to appoint an expert panel to resolve the matter.
Obama's term as US president ends Jan. 20, so the incoming Trump administration will thereafter inherit the proceeding. The Office of US Trade Representative declined to comment on whether Obama has discussed the trade suit with Trump's transition team, stressing that the Obama Administration had initiated the proceeding.
Addressing trade frictions between the two countries, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has repeatedly reiterated China's hope that the US government might work together with other nations to maintain a free, open and fair world trade environment, and properly and more rationally handle trade frictions, in line with its commitment to opposing trade protectionism.