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China has crossed the line in its treatment of U.S. steel imports, a World Trade Organization panel ruled. The action represents a major win for the Obama administration in its quest to challenge Chinese trade retaliation, establishing a precedent for other impending WTO actions involving the two nations.
Back in April of 2010, the communist nation slapped tariffs upon imported steel produced by the Ohio-based AK Steel Holding Corp. and Allegheny Ludlum Corp. of Pennsylvania, effectively excluding them from the market.
China's Commerce Ministry had hiked import tariffs on electrical steel imports, which exceeded $200 million in 2008, to as high as 65%.
Said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to the Wall Street Journal and other news organizations: "Today's victory is important not just for our steelworkers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but for a range other interests as well, including American farmers and workers in other sectors that export to China."
The WTO panel's decision, which can still be appealed by the Chinese over the next 60 days, signals to China that "it must do more" to comply with WTO rules," he added.
The trade of steel has become an increasingly touchy topic in light of growing competition on the world market, with both nations coming to the rescue of their respective industries with an array of import duties and other retaliatory trade measures.
It doesn't hurt for the White House that the WTO's pending action affects U.S. steel producers in Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states that could very well determine Obama's fate in November.
Read all about it: http://on.wsj.com/M11wJn.