US tariffs on China in breach of WTO rules: former official

The US administration’s move to impose tariffs on Chinese goods is in violation of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and could have serious impact on global markets, says a former WTO official.

Zhang Yuejiao, a former judge and chair of the WTO appellate body, made the comment in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) in Beijing on Monday, asserting that the US implementation of higher tariffs last month was an unprecedented move which violated WTO terms.

“The US unilaterally raising the tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on 200 billion US dollars’ worth of Chinese goods is unprecedented in the whole international trade history. It is a very serious issue. The US unilaterally raising the tariffs on a large scale violates WTO Article 23. The two sides are both WTO members and important members,” said Zhang.

The former WTO official added that as per Article 23 for dispute settlement procedures, WTO members should agree to using a multilateral system to settle their trade disputes rather than resorting to taking unilateral actions.

Zhang also commented on the US accusations against China with regards to intellectual property rights, saying she has seen the vast improvements China has made in this field in an attempt to meet with international standards.

“I’ve witnessed the laws of China’s intellectual property protection developing from nothing and the protection efforts developing from an average level to an international level,” the official said.

“I think we are confident to be praised by the world experts that China reaches an international level on patent law, trademark law, copyright law. And we are not only expanding the protection range but also extending the protection period. We also improved the enforcement of these laws. These efforts are unique in the world,” she added.

The US and China, the world’s two-largest economies, are in the midst of a year-long trade war, which, according to the IMF, could cut the global economic output by 0.5 percent, or about 455 billion dollars, next year.

US President Donald Trump initiated that trade war with China last year, when he first imposed unusually heavy tariffs on imports from the country. Since then, the two countries have exchanged tariffs on more than 360 billion dollars in two-way trade. The two sides have held talks to settle the issue but to no avail.

Huawei’s scientific achievements commendable

During her interview with CCTV, Zhang also addressed the recent controversies over Chinese telecoms giant Huawei after Washington restricted the sale or transfer of US technologies to the company over spying accusations.

Zhang dismissed the US accusations against Huawei and instead hailed the company’s move to dedicate 12 percent of its income on research and development several years ago.

“A Chinese private company is not just pursuing profit. Its profit not only goes into its own pocket but is being invested in scientific research, I think their scientific achievements should be encouraged. They are contributions to all of humanity. We shouldn’t look to oppress something that is more advanced than us. It doesn’t make sense. It neither conforms to fair play nor the rule of law,” said Zhang.

Zhang concluded by calling for an approach of respect, equality and seeking mutual benefits in order to resolve such disputes.

Last month, the Trump administration cut off Huawei from sales of American technology over accusations of stealing trade secrets and conducting surveillance on behalf of Beijing.

Both Huawei and the Chinese government have dismissed the allegations, saying they are aimed at curbing the company’s meteorite rise in the world.

Huawei last year surpassed Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer behind Samsung.

Many countries across the world, including close US allies, have opposed the US ban and pledged to continue dealings with Huawei. 

Source Article from http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2019/06/10/598175/US-administration-tariffs-WTO-Zhang-Yuejiao

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