EU does not support measures that would run counter to WTO law: spokesman

Updated 2018-04-04 22:44:00 Xinhua

The European Union (EU) does not support measures that would run counter to WTO law, Daniel Rosario, spokesman of the European Commission, told reporters Wednesday on Washington's proposed list of Chinese goods subject to additional 25 percent tariffs based on the investigation of the so-called Section 301.

"We call on the relevant parties to ensure WTO compliance of their trade actions. We will analyze the measures being taken in terms of their WTO (World Trade Organization) compatibility," said Rosario, responding to Xinhua's question about the list.

According to the spokesman, the EU has noticed the U.S. action against China under Section 301 and has been closely following the investigations since they were launched in August 2017.

Rosario also underlined the importance of the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in dealing with trade differences.

"What is important to stress is that the EU believes that measures should always be taken within the World Trade Organization framework, which provides numerous tools to effectively deal with trade differences," said the spokesman.

China expressed strong condemnation after Washington announced the list of Chinese goods worth 50 billion U.S. dollars, which involves industries in aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics and machinery, and targets around 1,300 Chinese products.

"The Chinese side strongly condemns and firmly opposes the unfounded Section 301 investigation and the proposed list of products and tariff increases based on the investigation," the Chinese Embassy in the United States said in a statement Tuesday, shortly after Washington unveiled the list.

The list was authorized by the U.S. Trade Representative's office, which in August 2017 initiated an investigation under the Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to probe Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices.

China has repeatedly said that Section 301 investigation is a unilateral move that violates WTO rules.

"Such unilateralistic and protectionist action has gravely violated fundamental principles and values of the WTO. It serves neither China's interest, nor U.S. interest, even less, the interest of the global economy," the Chinese embassy said in its statement.

Washington's reckless tariff moves are breaking the modern trade rules that had been established by the United States itself with the WTO at the center.

"I think the (U.S.) administration is definitely moving away from the WTO and moving in the direction of the unilateral trade measures," said Henry Levine, senior advisor at leading U.S. consulting firm Albright Stonebridge Group.

Calling the Trump administration's choice "very unfortunate," Levine said it's bad for every country in the world if the WTO loses more effectiveness, "because we do need some rules."

"I think we're all going to be worse off if the WTO were to fall apart because one major country or another totally ignored WTO rules," said Levine.

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