The WTO found on Tuesday that the United States breached global trading rules by imposing multibillion-dollar tariffs in President Donald Trump's trade war with China, a ruling that drew anger from Washington.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a press briefing that Beijing hoped the United States would respect the ruling.
The Trump administration says its tariffs imposed two years ago on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods were justified as it accused China of stealing intellectual property.
But the WTO's three-member panel said the US duties broke trading rules because they applied only to China and were above maximum rates agreed to by the United States. Washington had not then adequately explained why its measures were a justified exception, the panel concluded.
China's Commerce Ministry said Beijing supported the multilateral trading system and respected WTO rules and rulings, and hoped Washington would do the same.
"This panel report confirms what the Trump administration has been saying for four years: the WTO is completely inadequate to stop China's harmful technology practices," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in response.
The decision will have little immediate effect on the US tariffs and is just the start of a legal process that could take years to play out, ultimately leading to the WTO approving retaliatory measures if it is upheld – moves that China has already taken on its own.
The panel recommended the United States bring its measures "into conformity with its obligations", but also encouraged the two sides to work to resolve the overall dispute.
"Time is available for the parties to take stock as proceedings evolve and further consider opportunities for mutually agreed and satisfactory solutions," it said.
During a two-year trade war with Beijing, Trump threatened tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports – more than $500 billion – before the two countries signed a "Phase 1" trade deal in January. Extra tariffs are still in place on some $370 billion worth of Chinese goods, and $62.16 billion in duties have been collected since July 2018, US Customs data show.
Trump has described the WTO as "horrible" and biased toward China, often threatening to quit.