China's commerce ministry said on Saturday that China expressed regret at the United States for filing a challenge at the World Trade Organization, adding that it has always respected WTO rules.
The office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said on Friday that the USTR had filed a request for consultations with China at the WTO to address "discriminatory technology licensing agreements."
China has been consistent in highly valuing the protection
of intellectual property, the ministry said in a statement on
China has taken strong measures to protect the legal rights and interests of both domestic and foreign owners of intellectual property, the ministry said.
Consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process. If the United States and China are not able to reach a mutually agreed upon solution through consultations, the United States may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel to review the matter.
"Even though there're complaints by the Trump administration about how well the WTO works, there does seem to be some evidence that they also share the view that the WTO can be a place where these disputes can be resolved," said Stephen Lamar, executive vice president of American Apparel and Footwear Association, suggesting that the US and Chinese governments could resolve trade disputes through the WTO and bilateral dialogues.
The request came a day after US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion US dollars of Chinese imports, which fueled worries about a potential trade war and triggered market selloff.
China's Ministry of Commerce on Friday urged the United States to "pause on the brink of a precipice" and make prudent decisions so as not to put bilateral trade relations in jeopardy.
China will not sit idly watching its legitimate rights and interests being damaged under any circumstances, the ministry's spokesperson said, adding: "We have confidence and capability in dealing with any challenges."