China filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the tariffs set in place by President Donald Trump’s administration.

The 15% tariffs went into effect on Sunday. It covers items like tools, apparel, some shoes, and a few electronics. The overall value of the goods adds up to $111 billion.

China did not share details of its case with the WTO. Officials claimed it “affected $300 billion of Chinese exports.” China brought two other lawsuits previously against the U.S. to the WTO.

Trump’s administrations insisted it is “penalizing China for theft of intellectual property that is not covered by WTO rules, although many trade experts say that any tariff hike above the allowed maximum must be justified at the WTO.”

The U.S. said the rules do not apply to the tariffs since officials pushed them ahead “to protect moral values.” Those apply to “trade regulations over gambling, animal rights and public broadcasting.” From Reuters:

On Friday the United States published a written defence in the first of the three legal cases, asserting that China and the United States agreed the issue should not be judged at the WTO.

“China has taken the unilateral decision to adopt aggressive industrial policy measures to steal or otherwise unfairly acquire the technology of its trading partners; the United States has adopted tariff measures to try to obtain the elimination of China’s unfair and distortive technology-transfer policies,” it said.

China had chosen to respond not by addressing U.S. concerns but with its own tariffs, “in an effort to maintain its unfair policies indefinitely”.

The U.S. submission also said its actions were exempt from WTO rules because they were “measures necessary to protect public morals” – a clause used in the past to argue for trade restrictions over gambling, animal rights and public broadcasting.

China must have forgotten that it also announced new tariffs on American goods that equals $75 billion.

Those tariffs should have also gone into effect on Sunday, but China decided to delay most until December 15. Officials implemented “increased duties of between 5% and 10% on a variety of major American goods exported to China, including soybeans and crude oil.”

The new tariffs only include “one third of the more than 5,000 product lines listed in the” announcement from China in August.


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