The WTO's appeals panel, acting on a Chinese appeal, Thursday upheld its earlier ruling in support of the United States which had claimed the Chinese tariffs on its exports were improper. China had claimed the two U.S. firms which had exported the steel products had illegally "dumped" them by selling them at unfairly low prices.
The dispute relates to exports of grain-oriented flat-rolled electrical steel used in making transformers, rectifiers, reactors, and large electric machines.
"This is a victory for the United States as well as for American workers and manufacturers," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement released on the trade office website. "The Obama Administration will not stand by and allow China to break international trade rules."
Kirk said China's unfair duties had choked off nearly all U.S. exports of the specialty steel.
"Today we are again plainly stating that we will continue to take every step necessary to ensure that China plays by the rules and does not unfairly restrict exports of U.S. products," Kirk said.
The United States and China have been involved in a number of trade disputes, many of which have been taken to the WTO. Some U.S. critics also have charged China is deliberately keeping the value of its currency low in relation to other major currencies to make its exports cheaper and those from other countries more expensive and thus run huge trade surpluses against the United States.