China calls for WTO members to unite against US
March 28, 2018
China has called for World Trade Organization members to oppose the US section 301 trade sanctions investigation, saying the unilateral action is detrimental to all parties.
The recent US move will not only impair the rights and interests of China and other members, but it also seriously undermines the multilateral trading system, the Chinese WTO Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen said at a recent WTO meeting in Geneva.
The comments came amid growing concern over the escalating trade tensions between China and the US.
Section 301 investigations are purely unilateral and “violate the most fundamental values and principles” of the WTO, Zhang said at the meeting of the WTO’s Council on Trade in Goods.
“The US is setting a very bad precedent by bluntly breaching its commitment made to the world,” Zhang warned.
He further urged WTO members to unite to prevent the resurrection of 301 investigations and “lock this beast back into the cage” of the WTO rules.
“Unilateralism is fundamentally incompatible with the WTO, like fire and water. In the open sea, if the boat capsizes, no one is safe from drowning,” Zhang said. “The WTO is under siege, and all of us should lock arms to defend it.”
Since US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on 22nd March that could lead to the imposition of stiff tariffs on China and other countries, the international community has paid close attention to the issue for fear of the negative impact caused by protectionism.
The European Commission has also launched an investigation into imports of steel products into the European Union in response to the recent US aluminum and steel tariff plan. However the US recently announced that EU imports will be excluded for now from the tariffs.
US agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc expressed deep concern in a statement due to the increasing trade tensions between the US and China.
The world is interdependent, and the cost of trade wars is too high, the company said. “The impact of trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies could lead to a destructive trade war with serious consequences for economic growth and job creation.”