China says it will change its restrictive policy on certain steel imports from the United States after the World Trade Organisation declared it was in breach of international trade rules.

After a meeting of the world trade arbiter's dispute settlement body in Geneva, China said that although it "may not agree" with all the WTO's findings, it would respect and "work hard to implement" them.

The Chinese statement follows a meeting last month of the WTO's appellate body, which upheld a US complaint that Chinese duties on its high-value specialist magnetic rolled-steel were illegal.

The WTO had ruled on June 15 that China breached trade rules by not providing sufficient evidence for imposing the duties, but that decision was appealed by Beijing five days later.

The dispute dates back to September 2010 when Washington accused China of breaching trade rules by not providing sufficient evidence that anti-dumping duties were needed on US imports of electrical steel used in the power sector.

China must now indicate to the body's other member nations how it intends to bring its legislation in line with WTO rules.

The two governments have stepped up WTO complaints and rhetoric over access to each other's markets this year, as the global economic crisis crimps trade.

In September, the Geneva-based trade arbiter agreed to set up a panel of judges to investigate China's allegation that American anti-subsidy duties are affecting US$7.3 billion of Chinese products, such as solar panels, wind towers and steel wire, and violating global commerce rules.

Meanwhile, China's top trade and investment officials are railing against what they call a rising tide of global protectionism that blocks its major companies from expanding overseas and further integrating into the global economy.

November 18, 2012

Source: South China Morning Post