A World Trade Organisation (WTO) arbitrator has decided that China can impose retaliatory tariffs on imports from the United States totalling up to 645 million US dollars (£477 million) a year, capping a decade-long dispute over US duties on some Chinese goods.
The dollar-value award issued on Wednesday follows a decision in July 2019 from the WTO’s dispute resolution process, which the United States has since gummed up by refusing to allow for new judges to be appointed to its body that acts as a sort of appeals court.
China had originally sought an award of 2.4 billion US dollars (£1.8 billion) per year, while the US had argued that fair compensation would have totalled no more than 106 million US dollars (£78 million) annually.
The ruling allows China to take action to balance out what the WTO ruled were unfair US fees on some Chinese goods, including thermal paper, solar panels, wind towers, steel sinks and several types of pipes.
The standoff predates a string of trade disputes between the US and China through the WTO during the Trump administration.
China still has not applied retaliatory penalties on US goods up to an amount of nearly 3.6 billion US dollars (£2.7 billion) that were authorised by a WTO arbitrator in a separate decision in November 2019.