U.S. tariffs will 'hurt world trade prospects'

Updated 2018-03-23 11:06:05 China Daily

The nation will take active measures to confront challenges from trade investigations launched by the United States and firmly defend its manufacturers' interests, a senior commerce official said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said that the Section 232 and 301 investigations initiated by the U.S. are unilateral trade protectionist practices. Adopting related trade restrictions will not only damage the international trade order, but will also cause serious damage to the multilateral global trading system.

"The trade war will only generate losers and negative impact on global trade and the world economy," Wang, who also is China's deputy international trade representative, said in a speech during the informal World Trade Organization's ministerial meeting in New Delhi from March 19 to 20, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The Trump administration is expected to unveil tariffs on up to billion in Chinese technology and telecoms products by Friday. The tariffs will be imposed under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974 after it started an intellectual property probe in August last year.

Concerns about trade wars between the U.S. and China and other key trade partners have grown after the U.S. raised tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels in January and signed proclamations this month on a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports under the pretense of national security in the controversial Section 232 of U.S. Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

Wang said the WTO currently faces many challenges. As a staunch supporter and active builder of the multilateral trading system, China is willing to work with all parties to ensure that the WTO can carry out its functions and continue to make breakthroughs in issues including the WTO Doha Round of negotiations and food security.

He also called on all parties to discuss topics such as investment facilitation and e-commerce activities under a multilateral framework so that the WTO can continue to play its core role in improving global economic and trade governance.

As anti-globalization and protectionism spread, Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, said all parties should jointly support the multilateral trading system and maintain the authority and effectiveness of the WTO rules.

Key trading partners of U.S. are acutely aware that the country wishes to stay within the WTO but on the other hand wants to raise the tariff significantly, he said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest trade federation that represents more than 3 million businesses, showed strong opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump's reported plan to impose tariffs on China last week, as it will affect the livelihoods of the U.S. consumers, businesses, farmers and ranchers.

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