On March 23, 2018, the Ministry of Commerce spokesperson released the following statement (unofficial translation) :
On March 23, 2018, the Ministry of Commerce issued a list of discontinuation concessions for US imports of steel and aluminum products 232 measures and solicited public opinions, intending to impose tariffs on certain products imported from the United States, in order to balance the Aluminum products impose tariffs on losses caused by Chinese interests. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce made a statement on this.
This list tentatively contains 7 categories and 128 tax products. According to the 2017 statistics, it involves US exports to China of about 3 billion US dollars. The first part covers a total of 120 taxes involving US$977 million in US exports to China, including fresh fruit, dried fruit and nut products, wine, modified ethanol, American ginseng, and seamless steel pipes , and is expected to impose a 15% tariff. The second part covers a total of eight taxes involving US$1.992 billion of US exports to China, including pork and processed products, recycled aluminum, etc., and a 25% tariff is proposed.
The fact that the United States imposed tariffs of 25% and 10% 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 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 the first part of the product; China will implement the second part list after further evaluating the impact of the US measures on China. China reserves the right to adjust measures based on actual conditions and will implement the necessary procedures in accordance with relevant WTO rules.
The United States’ practice of restricting the import of products based on “national security” has severely damaged the multilateral trade system represented by the WTO and seriously interfered with the normal international trade order. It 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, China and the United States are the only correct choice for cooperation between the two countries. They hope that both sides proceed from the overall interests of China and the United States, work toward one another, focus on cooperation, control disagreements, and jointly promote 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, resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, and avoid harming the overall situation of Sino-U.S. cooperation.
- Notice of the Ministry of Commerce on Public Consultation on the U.S. Imported Steel and Aluminum Products 232 Measures and Chinese Countermeasures (in Chinese)
- Suspended Concession Product List.pdf (in Chinese with tariff subheadings)