The ruling from the WTO will have little practical effect, however -- because the group's appeals board has too few members to operate after the Untied States blocked needed appointments. Trump has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports in an effort to bring Beijing to the negotiating table and address issues over intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.
The United States and China agreed to a preliminary deal earlier this year, but most of the tariffs remain in place. They make those goods more expensive for US businesses and sometimes lead to price increases on consumers. The Trump administration has long criticized the WTO for not holding China accountable. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer slammed the group's ruling Tuesday, arguing that it confirms the body is ineffective.