It's the first time Beijing has ever sought a WTO panel in a trade dispute.
Washington delayed the panel's establishment at a meeting of the WTO's dispute body on Monday, but an investigation will likely be launched early next year.
The Geneva-based body can authorize trade sanctions if countries fail to comply with rules.
China says U.S. charges on some Chinese goods violate numerous trade agreements.
The U.S. says the goods are being exported at below-market value and that it is lawfully defending American manufacturers.