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China awaits tariff hearing result

Ren Xiaojin/Dong LeShuo
Updated: Jul 27,2018 9:47 AM     China Daily

United States’ accusations against China of unfair trade practices related to intellectual property protection and technology transfer are unfounded, the Ministry of Commerce said on July 26.

The comment was made after a two-day public hearing by the Office of the US Trade Representative was wrapped up in Washington proposing tariffs on another $16 billion worth of Chinese exports.

In hundreds of comments sent by business associations to the US trade authority office, more than 90 percent opposed the newly proposed tariffs, said Gao Feng, the ministry’s spokesman.

“Since the US conducted a Section 301 investigation, the US has been intensifying trade frictions while blaming China for the negotiations being at a standstill,” Gao said.

Section 301 deals with intellectual property rights issues.

The two countries have not yet been in touch regarding a possible timetable for a resumption of negotiations, Gao said.

“China has said many times that it is never eager to take part in a trade war, but it is not afraid to participate if necessary. China will firmly defend its legitimate rights,” he said, adding that the country will enhance cooperation with its global trading partners and firmly defend free trade principles and a multilateral trade mechanism.

The US trade authority also identified an additional $200 billion in goods slated for a 10 percent duty hike after China recently retaliated amid the escalating trade dispute. US President Donald Trump has said he is “ready to go” with tariffs on $500 billion in imports.

Gao said the US, for domestic political agenda purposes, would rather sabotage the current hard-earned global trade system as well as damage the rights and interests of companies along the entire value chain, including the US agricultural sector.

“But such blackmailing and threats will not have any impact on China,” he stressed.

Of the tariffs targeting $50 billion in Chinese goods, $34 billion worth took effect on July 6, and the remainder depends on the outcome of the two-day US Trade Representative hearing, which concluded on July 25.

“The proposed action is not in the interests of the United States,” the China Chamber of Commerce said. “Raising tariffs will not only hurt US importers, retailers and downstream industries, but also result in a higher cost of living for ordinary Americans and put millions of US jobs that are tied to trade with China at risk.”

Semiconductors are the fourth-largest US export by revenue, with a trade surplus of over $6 billion in 2017, and the US has consistently had a semiconductor trade surplus with China, with a surplus of approximately $2 billion in 2017, according to the US International Trade Commission.

On the import side, many Chinese-made semiconductors coming into the US are designed and/or manufactured in the US and shipped to China for the final stage of assembly, testing and packaging, the Semiconductor Industry Association said.

“Tariffs on US semiconductor-related imports from China would cause US companies to pay tariffs on their own products,” the association said.

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