China on Monday urged the United States to revoke protectionist measures that violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
The trade measures that target just a small number of countries abuse the security exception clause of WTO rules and go against the principle of non-discrimination in multilateral trade, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in an online statement.
Despite worldwide objection, the U.S. government decided last month to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum, with tariffs on imports from EU member states, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Korea being suspended until May 1, 2018.
"China's interests were seriously damaged," the MOC said.
To balance losses caused by the move, the ministry proposed counter-measures on U.S. products worth about 3 billion U.S. dollars on March 23 and solicited public opinion.
"People expressed widespread support via telephone and e-mail for the counter-measures, with some even suggesting stronger measures," said the statement.
Based on that domestic support, the measures have been put into effect. The Chinese Ministry of Finance on Monday announced a 15-percent tariff on 120 items from the United States including fruit, and a 25-percent tariff on eight items including pork.
China has acted in restraint to avoid confrontation with the United States, with measures to increase imports and widen market access, but to no avail.
The two sides have failed to reach a consensus as the United States declined to respond to China's requests through the WTO for consultation, the MOC said. "As a WTO member, China has the right not to meet some former obligations to the United States."
Despite the frictions, China maintains its stance on economic cooperation for mutual development.
"Cooperation is the only valid option for China and the United States," the MOC said, calling for dialogue and consultation to address the concerns of both sides and realize common development, and working to prevent more harm to the broader picture of China-U.S. cooperation.