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The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce makes remarks on China’s release of a list of discontinuation concessions against the U.S. steel and aluminum imports under Section 232

The Ministry of Commerce issued a list of discontinuation concessions against the U.S. Section 232 measures for imported steel and aluminum products and solicited public comments on March 23, 2018, intending to impose tariffs on certain products imported from the U.S. to balance losses to Chinese interests as a result of tariffs levied by the U.S. government on steel and aluminum imports. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce made a statement on that.

This list tentatively contains 128 tax products across 7 categories. According to the 2017 statistics, it involves U.S. exports to China of some US$3 billion. The first part covers a total of 120 taxes involving US$977 million in U.S. exports to China, including fresh fruits, dried fruits and nut products, wines, modified ethanol, American ginseng, and seamless steel pipes, which is expected to impose a tariff of 15 percent. And the second part covers a total of 8 taxes involving US$1.992 billion of US exports to China, including pork and its products, recycled aluminum and other products, with a proposed tariff of 25 percent.

The fact that the United States imposed tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent on imported steel and aluminum products on the grounds of “national security” actually constitutes a safeguard measure. According to the relevant provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguard Measures, China has formulated a list of suspension of concessions. If China and the United States fail to reach a trade compensation agreement within the stipulated time, China will exercise the right to suspend concessions for products mentioned in the first part; China will implement the second part list after further evaluating the impact of the U.S. measures on China. China reserves the right to adjust measures based on actual conditions and will implement necessary procedures in accordance with relevant WTO rules.

The United States' practice of import restrictions based on “national security” has severely damaged the multilateral trade system fronted by the WTO and seriously interfered with the normal international trade order, which has been opposed by many WTO members. The Chinese side also negotiated with the United States through multiple levels and channels, and will take legal actions under the WTO framework to jointly maintain the stability and authority of the multilateral trade rules with other WTO members.

As the world's two largest economies, it is the only correct choice for China and the United States to cooperate with each other. It is our hope that both sides can proceed from the overall interests of both China and the United States, with a focus on each other, cooperation, and control disagreements, jointly promoting the healthy and stable development of China-US economic and trade relations. China urges the United States to resolve China’s concerns as soon as possible, and resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, thus avoiding harming the overall situation of Sino-U.S. cooperation.