Portman Statement on WTO Ruling Against U.S. Tariffs on China

September 16, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement on the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against the use of Section 301 to levy tariffs on China for their legacy of unfair trade practices.

“This case is a symptom of the WTO's failure to address the challenges that China has created for the global trading system. Although the lack of a quorum at the Appellate Body will prevent this case from going any further, this case underscores why we need to rebalance the WTO back to being an organization where outcomes are won at the negotiating table as much as possible. Right now, the WTO is far too focused on litigation, and that is why I introduced a bipartisan resolution on WTO reform over the summer.

“China must be held accountable for continuing to break both the letter and spirit of international trade rules. In addition to reforming the WTO to create new rules against non-market techno-nationalism and revitalizing the lost art of trade negotiation, the United States should engage both bilaterally and multilaterally to protect American jobs and small businesses. Leaving the WTO is not an option. To do so would be to cede the organization over to China’s leadership.”

NOTE: In July, Senators Portman and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing support for U.S. leadership at the WTO while also calling for reform to parts of the institution. The resolution describes the long history of productive American leadership at the WTO, as well as the ways in which the WTO has failed to address new trade barriers and market distortions by countries like China. The resolution also offers specific reform proposals of the WTO.