U.S. tariffs not justified by 'national security' rationale: Chinese diplomat

Updated 2018-05-09 09:17:16 Xinhua

The lately imposed tariffs by the United States on steel and aluminum do not aim at protecting the so-called "national security", but serve to protect commercial interests of U.S. domestic industries, said Chinese Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Zhang Xiangchen, in a meeting on Tuesday.

According to the report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce and statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, "it is obvious that the reason of these measures is not national security", Zhang said in a meeting of WTO General Council, adding that the imports subject to the latest imposed tariffs account for only 5 percent of U.S. steel consumption.

Zhang noted that the U.S. import of steel accounts for around 16 percent of its consumption, and about 70 percent of its import comes from the members exempted, temporarily or permanently, from the new tariff measures.

"Such measures should be considered as safeguard measures under the Agreement of Safeguards, and meet necessary requirements as set in that agreement," underlined the Chinese diplomat.

Despite worldwide objection, the U.S. administration decided in March to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports.

The U.S. then provided temporary exemptions for EU member states as well as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea.

It is reported that the United States sought quotas or voluntary export restraints during its negotiations with economies requesting permanent exemption from U.S. steel tariffs.

Zhang said that those actions are explicitly prohibited by the WTO rules and put the global trade back to the old era of quotas.

China would call on the whole membership to urge the U.S. to honor its obligations under the WTO Agreements and to immediately withdraw its tariff measures, he concluded.

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