China's Commerce Ministry urges US to not initiate new trade measures amid reports of 301 probe
Global Times

China US Photo:GT

China US Photo:GT

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday that economic and trade teams from China and the US agreed to maintain close communication and implement the consensus reached by the heads of the two countries' economic and trade teams, while urging the US not to initiate new trade measures amid reports of new so-called Section 301 probes by the US.

MOFCOM spokesperson Shu Jueting made the remarks during a press briefing on Thursday when asked about a video call between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday, during which the two officials had "constructive" exchanges on topics such as the macroeconomic situation and global supply chain stability.

Also asked about future arrangement between the two trade teams, Shu said that "if there is further news, we will release it in time." In response to a question about whether China will reciprocate if the US moves to relax or remove tariffs, Shu said that given the US' high inflation, "the sooner the US lifts tariffs on China, the sooner consumers and businesses will benefit."

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the US government is still weighing options for whether or not to cut tariffs on Chinese imports to ease the country's soaring inflation, as the situation has been further complicated by more than 400 submitted requests asking to keep tariffs in place to the US Trade Representative office as of Tuesday.

According to a report from Politico on Tuesday, the Biden administration could lift tariffs on just $10 billion worth of Chinese goods, only accounting for a small fraction of the duties which were imposed on approximately $370 billion worth of imports from China.

The Reuters report also noted that the US is considering whether to pair a removal of some tariffs with a new Section 301 investigation into China's industrial subsidies and efforts to dominate key sectors like semiconductors.

At Thursday's press briefing, Shu urged the US not to launch new trade measures, stressing that China always oppose trade protectionism and practices such as Section 301 investigations.

Even though China welcomes the US side for communication, the US is still not showing enough sincerity for the talks, which should be reflected through actual actions, Dong Shaopeng, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"The US has used tariffs as a tool to pressure other countries, especially China, which is harmful for bilateral relations," he said, stressing tools like US Section 301 is viewed as "long-arm jurisdiction."