DP9217 US Special Safeguard on Imports of Tires from China: Imposing Pain for Little Gain

Author(s): Steve Charnovitz, Bernard Hoekman
Publication Date: November 2012
Keyword(s): accession, adjustment, China, globalization, safeguards, Trade disputes, WTO
JEL(s): F13, F51
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9217

In 2009, the United States imposed additional tariffs for a three-year period on imports of automotive tires from China under a special-safeguard provision included in China’s Protocol of Accession to the WTO. China challenged the measure in the WTO. The case marked the first WTO dispute in which a challenged safeguard was upheld by the Appellate Body; the first in which an accession protocol was used successfully as a defense; and the first that China lost as a complaining party. It also was noteworthy in that the safeguard was sought by a labor union, and not the domestic industry. This paper reviews the WTO Appellate Body’s findings and discusses a number of the legal and policy implications regarding China’s Accession Protocol, the Safeguards Agreement, and WTO accession law, as well as economic aspects of the case.