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BRUSSELS: The World Trade Organization (WTO) authorised China on Wednesday to impose $645 million of compensatory tariffs against the United States in a ruling likely to receive a cool reception in Washington.

China went to the WTO in 2012 to challenge anti-subsidy tariffs the United States imposed between 2008 and 2012, mainly during the term of U.S. President Barack Obama, on 22 Chinese products ranging from solar panels to steel wire.

The decade-long case into alleged subsidies has centred on whether the United States could treat Chinese companies in which the government owns a majority stake as controlled by the state.

U.S. officials have argued that China benefits from easier treatment at the WTO, while subsidising manufactured goods and dumping them on world markets.

China had initially asked the three-person WTO panel to award it the right to impose tariffs on $2.4 billion of U.S. goods.

The actual award is dwarfed by U.S. tariffs on more than $300 billion of Chinese goods imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump, most of which are still in place. However, it is another symbolic victory for Beijing at the Geneva-based trade body. In November 2019, the WTO awarded China the right to retaliatory tariffs of $3.58 billion after finding fault with the way Washington determined if Chinese products are being dumped on the US market.

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