China said Thursday that the United States had put its own standards above international law by opposing the granting of market economy status to China in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The U.S. opposition is only based on domestic standards, while WTO rules are international trade laws that should be followed by all members, said Gao Feng, spokesperson with China's Commerce Ministry, at a press conference Thursday. "We hope the U.S. opposition is not disregarding international rules."
The United States last week submitted a statement of opposition to the WTO as a third-party brief in support of the European Union (EU) in a case brought by China, arguing the "surrogate country approach" should be dropped after the expiration date, which came just days before a hearing on the case.
Gao said he hoped that experts at the hearing would make an impartial judgement in accordance with international law.
China has filed dispute cases at the WTO both against the United States and the EU regarding the surrogate country approach, which allowed WTO members to use costs of production in a third country to calculate the value of products from countries on their "non-market economy" list.
The surrogate country approach on Chinese exports expired on Dec. 11, 2016.
"We urge some WTO members, including the United States, to fulfil their WTO obligations fully and effectively," Gao said. "China will earnestly fulfill its WTO obligations, but it should at the same time enjoy its rights as a member of the organization."
Gao said China had always valued a stable and predictable business and trade environment between the two countries, and had been making firm efforts to ensure this.
"The recent U.S. trade investigations into Chinese products have sent 'negative messages' that caused concern among enterprises from both countries, especially U.S. enterprises willing to cooperate with and explore the Chinese market," he said.
Gao said China considered the U.S. investigations "unconstructive" and hoped the United States was protecting its businesses' interests long-term.
"Exercising trade protectionism is just like quenching a thirst with poison," he said.
"We always believe that the core of China-U.S. trade ties is mutually beneficial," he said.