According to press reports, China has requested that the World Trade Organization authorize it to take retaliatory measures against $7 billion in U.S. exports to that country on the grounds that Washington has made “no substantive effort” to meet an Aug. 22 deadline for complying with a WTO ruling against various aspects of the way the Department of Commerce calculates antidumping duties.

China said its measures would take the form of a suspension of concessions or other obligations. Typically that means an increase in import tariffs, but given that the U.S. and China have already imposed or threatened to impose higher tariffs on nearly all of their bilateral trade, other forms of retaliation could be a possibility.

The WTO is scheduled to take up China’s request Sept. 21. At that time the U.S. could object to the amount of retaliation requested, which would send the matter to arbitration. It could also seek the establishment of a panel to determine whether it has in fact complied with the WTO ruling, though the Trump administration acknowledged last month that it is continuing to “consult with interested parties on options to address” the ruling.

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