The World Trade Organization on Tuesday upheld a complaint by China over additional duties slapped by the Trump administration on some $250 billion (€211bn) worth of Chinese goods.
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A panel of experts set up by WTO's Dispute Settlement Body ruled the tariffs "inconsistent" with global trade rules, and recommended that the United States "bring its measures into conformity with its obligations".
The US response to Tuesday's ruling was defiant, blasting the organisation as "completely inadequate" in holding Beijing accountable.
"The United States must be allowed to defend itself against unfair trade practices, and the Trump administration will not let China use the WTO to take advantage of American workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
China's commerce ministry, for its part, said on Tuesday that it hoped the US would respect the WTO's rulings and take practical actions to maintain the multilateral trading system.
The WTO panel was created in January last year to review US President Donald Trump's decision to hit China with tariffs on a quarter of a trillion dollars' worth of goods.