China warns of trade war if U.S imposes tariffs on its goods

China has warned of a trade war with the U.S if the Trump administration decides to ignore WTO rulings and unilaterally imposes tariffs on its goods.

“If any member ignores WTO rules for its own interests and rejects WTO rulings on trade disputes, multilateral trade mechanisms would become meaningless and the trade wars of the 1930s could even be repeated”, Sun Jiwei, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said, reacting to moves by Washington to ignore the world trade body.

Sun was reacting to annual trade policy agenda sent to Congress by the new U.S government implying that America is not bound by World Trade Organisation (WTO) decisions.

The new U.S policy will also strictly enforce its trade laws, which include a ‘safeguard’ provision that allows the Washington to unilaterally impose relief “if increasing imports are substantial cause of serious injury to a domestic industry”, state-run ‘Global Times’ reported.

U.S President Donald Trump, who made some tough statements against China before and after his election, branded Beijing as a currency manipulator to gain unfair advantage from exports and even threatened to impose 45 per cent tariffs on Chinese goods.

China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, told media last week that China and the U.S are interdependent, and bilateral trade relations affect not just the two countries but the world.

“Many Americans and their Western friends think that China has to rely on the U.S. I think they are partially right. But the U.S has to rely on China as well”, Zhong said.

The report said the new U.S document asserts that “Americans are not directly subject to WTO decisions,” and that the U.S will defend its national sovereignty over trade policy and use all possible sources of leverage to encourage other countries to open their markets to U.S exports of goods and services.

(Agencies)

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