Sep 26, 2020 14:09 UTC
  • Thousands of US firms sue Trump administration over anti-China tariffs

Nearly 3,500 US firms -- including major corporations such as Tesla, Ford Motor, Target, Walgreens and Home Depot -- have taken legal action against the administration of President Donald Trump for imposing tariffs on more than $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The lawsuits, filed within the past two weeks in the US Court of International Trade, target Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the Customs and Border Protection agency, contesting what they refer to as unlawful escalation of Washington’s trade war with China by way of imposing a third and fourth round of tariffs.

The legal complaints came from a broad range of companies, arguing that the Trump administration failed to impose the China tariffs within a required 12-month period and did not conform to administrative procedures.

The development came shortly after the World Trade Organization (WTO) found on September 15 that Washington violated global trading guidelines by imposing multibillion-dollar tariffs as part of the Trump administration’s trade war waged against China.

In a 66-page report, the Geneva-based organization said the US duties broke trade rules because they applied only to China and were above the maximum rates agreed to by Washington.

The US-based companies further challenge the administration’s “unbounded and unlimited trade war impacting billions of dollars in goods imported from the People’s Republic of China by importers in the United States,” according to a legal complaint filed by auto parts manufacturer Dana Corp.

Another suit argues that Washington cannot expand tariffs to other Chinese imports “for reasons untethered to the unfair intellectual property policies and practices it originally investigated.”

The Trump administration has claimed that the tariffs on Chinese goods were justified since China was allegedly stealing intellectual property and requiring US companies to transfer technology for access to markets in the world’s most populous country.