NEW YORK, Aug 10 - A United States appeals court on Tuesday tossed out a price fixing lawsuit against two Chinese companies that make vitamin C, a case that spotlighted trade tensions between the United States and China.
Dismissing the case of 16 - 1 2 - year old was justified because of a true conflict between Chinese and American antitrust laws, and the potential impact on foreign relations that the 2nd. This Court of Appeals in Manhattan said.
The 2 - 1 decision is a defeat for Texas-based Animal Science Products Inc and New Jersey-based Ranis Co who claimed they were overcharged by Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co and North China Pharmaceutical GroupChina Pharmaceutical Group Corp for vitamin C.
The court rewad a $147.8 million jury verdict in Brooklyn that China won three years earlier, saying it must defer to his view that its laws required fixing prices and quantities of vitamin C exports.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 ordered a second look, saying federal courts owe respect only to foreign governments' interpretations of their own laws.
The Trump administration supported American companies in that case.
The Circuit Judge William Nardini wrote for Tuesday's majority that despite the U.S. interest in punishing foreign companies' anti-China conduct, the government could address its concerns with China through diplomacy and trade talks.
While the stakes for both countries are high, Nardini wrote, the United States' concern with extraterritorial enforcement of a private civil judgment under its antitrust laws is substantially diminished in these circumstances.
The plaintiff's lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.
Jonathan Jacobson, a lawyer for the Chinese companies called a dismissal the conflicting outcome given the sole proper laws.
Carter Phillips, a lawyer for Beijing's Ministry of Commerce, said it appreciated the respect that the majority showed for China's laws.
In an interview Phillips said : "I don't want to put people in a position where they are being tugged both sides of the stick," she said. The diplomatic answer to me seemed to be the right answer.
U.S.-China trade relations deteriorated after Trump sanctioned a Chinese ship manufacturer for unfair practices and accused him of some technology companies
Tensions are still rising, with the Biden administration banning Chinese companies from accessing U.S. technology and tightening some imports from China's Xinjiang region. The White House is conducting a full review of its China trade policy.
The case was Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co v Animal Science Products Inc. and al, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, no.