EU business leaders against US unilateral trade moves: Chinese diplomat

Published on 04/09 2018  Source: Xinhua


BRUSSELS - Business leaders in the European Union (EU) are against recent unilateral moves taken by the United States which threaten the global supply chain and would eventually harm European interests, a senior Chinese diplomat told Xinhua Friday.

Xia Xiang, minister-counsellor for economic and commercial affairs in the Chinese mission to the EU, said that European businesses are worried that the US moves would throw international trade into disarray.

China, as a manufacturing powerhouse, relies on a value chain that spans all continents and many foreign manufacturers and joint ventures including those from Europe, Xia said.

Based on Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, the US administration launched an investigation into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices in August 2017.

That led to proposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese exports of over 1,300 items worth $50 billion earlier this week.

After China responded with proportionate tariff proposals, the US side threatened to consider "$100 billion of additional tariffs" on Chinese products.

Xia pointed out that numerous countries and regions, including the EU, had fallen victim to US investigations based on Section 301.

Section 301 was the subject of an EU complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) two decades ago. In its 1999 ruling on that dispute, a WTO panel said the United States had "explicitly, officially, repeatedly and unconditionally" confirmed it would only employ Section 301 tariffs based on the settlement of a WTO dispute, Xia said.

Recent developments showed the US side has renegaded on its promises and broken the rules of the WTO, Xia said.

Political and business leaders in the EU have described the US moves as unilateral and protectionist in nature and compared them to "big sticks" meant to intimidate China, Xia said.

China has long insisted that dialogue and consultation conducted with mutual respect and in line with WTO rules are the proper way to seek solutions to disagreements in trade, Xia said.

The year 2018 marks the 40th year since China's adoption of the reform and open-up policies, and China will carry forward the policies more boldly, Xia said.

In recent months, China has been taking steps to further open up, such as lowering tariffs on many consumer goods and easing limits on foreign stakes in its financial sector.

"Leaders with a vision in politics and businesses could tell that China is going to be more open, and will bring further real benefits to Europe and other parts of the world," Xia said.

Despite minor disagreements, the theme of cooperation dominates the ties between China and the EU, he said.

China is the EU's second-biggest trading partner, while the EU is China's biggest trading partner.

Bilateral trade rose from $4 billion in 1978 to $616.9 billion in 2017.(Source: Xinhua)