Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

China challenges USA tariffs at WTO

China challenges USA tariffs at WTO

The move is unusually swift, coming less than one week after the U.S. Trade Representative proposed 10 percent tariffs on a $200 list of Chinese goods.

Washington added 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

European Council President Donald Tusk was speaking in Beijing at the opening of a summit between China and the European Union, just hours ahead of a summit between Trump and Putin in Helsinki. "Instead of working with us to address a common problem, some of our trading partners have elected to respond with retaliatory tariffs created to punish American workers, farmers and companies", U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in an emailed statement.

Tusk spoke after meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as part of an annual EU-China summit that opened against the backdrop of the growing China-US economic confrontation and wider global trade discord. In fact, the European Union broadly agrees with the United States criticism of China, but not with its use of punitive tariffs to force change, according to two people with knowledge of the 28-member bloc's approach to the summit.

Lighthizer argues that instead of working with the Trump administration to address a common problem, some USA trading partners have chosen to retaliate with tariffs aimed at punishing American workers, farmers and companies.

Both the USA and European Union urged China to open up its market and allow fair competition for its SOEs in their comments to China's seventh trade policy review by WTO.

Mr. Mnuchin, who has tried to avoid calling the trade tensions with China a "war", said talks with Beijing had "broken down" and suggested it was now up to China to come to the table with concessions.

Critics of Beijing's policies say foreign firms are competing with Chinese rivals backed by massive, market-distorting subsidies and government support, issues not sufficiently addressed under WTO rules.

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Li has appealed to visiting European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May by saying their companies were welcome to invest.

A European Union report last month said Beijing had imposed more new import and investment barriers in 2017 than any other government.

"The actions taken by the president are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of US law and worldwide trade rules". The 28-nation European Union is China's second-biggest trading partner after the United States.

Mr Trump sprinkled further spice on the rising rancour in a interview aired yesterday in which he labelled the EU, Russia and China as "foes" of the United States.

"So we would be back to square one", Mr Kuo said, with China exporting more to the U.S. than it buys from the country.

During a visit to Berlin by Li this month, German and Chinese companies signed deals worth 20 billion euros ($24 billion).

The company was also allowed to join the Chinese market without a local business partner, another rarity in China.

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