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January 12, 2018

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Beijing warns US of retaliation over trade

CHINA will resolutely safeguard its interests and take necessary measures to protect the interests of Chinese enterprises if the United States sticks to unilateral protectionist trade practices, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.

The US is disrupting the international trading order by carrying out the “Section 301” investigation under its own laws instead of through the World Trade Organization, said Gao Feng, spokesman for the commerce ministry.

US President Donald Trump ordered trade officials in August to investigate Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer. A decision is expected as early as this month, though American officials have set no date.

“If the United States insists on unilateral and protectionist practices that will undermine the interests of China, we will take all necessary measures and resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of China,” Gao said at a regular briefing.

He pointed out that the trade imbalance between the two countries is mainly a result of different economic structures, industrial competitiveness and international division of labor, and China has never sought a trade surplus as the flow of trade is determined by the market.

China saw a trade surplus of US$251 billion with the US in the first 11 months of last year, up 9.7 percent year on year, but the growth of imports from the US outpaced that of exports, according to Gao.

He also said that protectionist sentiment is increasing in the US and criticized Washington for blocking a Chinese takeover of an American financial firm on security grounds.

China is particularly worried about countries using national security concerns as a way to block foreign investment, he added.

The planned US$1.2 billion purchase of transfer firm MoneyGram International by Ailibaba’s Ant Financial collapsed last week after a US government panel rejected the deal over national security concerns.

It was the most high-profile Chinese deal to be torpedoed since Donald Trump was elected US president a year ago on promises to put America first and protect US jobs from foreign competitors.

In another blow to the global ambitions of Chinese firms, Huawei Technologies Co’s planned deal with US carrier AT&T to sell its smartphones in the US also fell apart because of security concerns.


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