China starts WTO dispute against U.S. chip export curbs

China has launched a trade dispute at the World Trade Organization against the United States over its chip export control measures, China’s commerce ministry said.

The United States passed a sweeping set of regulations in October aimed at kneecapping China’s semiconductor industry, prompting a complaint from a top China trade group.

“China takes legal actions within the WTO framework as a necessary way to address our concerns and to defend our legitimate interests,” said a statement by China’s commerce ministry, its diplomatic mission in Geneva relayed.

It added that the U.S. curbs “threatened the stability of the global industrial supply chains”.

The so-called request for consultations is the first step in a long procedure at the global trade body. The United States has blocked appointments to the WTO’s top ruling body on trade disputes, meaning some rows never get settled.

“We have received a request for consultations from the (People’s Republic of China) related to certain U.S. actions affecting semiconductors,” said Adam Hodge, spokesperson for U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

“As we have already communicated to the PRC, these targeted actions relate to national security, and the WTO is not the appropriate forum to discuss issues related to national security,” Hodge said in an emailed statement.

China’s complaint on U.S. chip export curbs comes days after a WTO ruling against Washington in a separate suit about metal tariffs that had been brought by China among others. The United States, a regular critic of the WTO’s arbitration proceedings, rejected the WTO’s findings.