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WTO ruling may help Jeep in China

by Bill Cawthon on

On July 5, 2012, the U.S. filed a three-page complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging China’s duties on vehicles exported from the United States.

Instituted in retaliation for U.S. anti-dumping duties on Chinese-made solar panels, the duties had the most impact on Chrysler Group and General Motors. The Chinese duties included a de facto 18% penalty on the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

After nearly two years of investigation, the WTO has agreed with most of the American claims.

While the White House hasn’t confirmed the WTO decision, the WTO itself has published its findings:

“As a consequence of these violations, the Panel also found that China acted inconsistently with the general obligation set forth in Article 1 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement and Article 10 of the SCM Agreement to conduct investigations consistently with the provisions of these Agreements.

“On the basis of the above, and pursuant to Article 19.1 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, the Panel recommended that the Dispute Settlement Body request China to bring its relevant measures into conformity with its obligations under the Anti-Dumping and SCM Agreements.”

The recent joint-venture agreements for Chinese production of various Jeep models means the impact of the WTO decision will be greatest for the Jeep Wrangler, which is not among the Jeep models that will be produced locally.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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