China on Thursday filed a request for consultation under the World Trade Organization dispute settlement framework with the United States regarding the US Section 232 measures that slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the Ministry of Commerce said.
“In the name of protecting the ‘national security’ of the United States, the Section 232 investigation is essentially an act of trade protectionism,” the ministry said in a statement. “The US side selectively exempts some nations and areas on the one hand, but on the other hand hikes tariffs on products from China and other WTO member countries.”
The levy severely violates the non-discriminatory principle of the multilateral trade system, the ministry said.
“It severely violates the commitment of tariff concession as well as the related supporting rules of the WTO,” it added. “It severely undermines China’s legitimate interest as a WTO member. In consideration that US has refused negotiations based on WTO rules, China is obliged to initiate a WTO dispute settlement procedure to safeguard its legitimate interests.”
(Compiled by Qiao Wai)