China on Monday filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the United States’ plan to impose new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
The Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) announced in a short statement that the complaint had been filed about tariffs proposed by the administration of President Donald Trump.
Last week, the White House released an expansive list of some 6,000 Chinese goods targeted for tariffs that included produce, plywood and marble. After the list was announced, it was quickly disparaged by MOFCOM.
“The U.S. is not only launching a trade war with China, but also with the whole world, dragging the world economy into danger,” the Chinese agency contended in a statement. “When the U.S. willfully exits from groups based on its own interests under the pretext of ‘American First’, it becomes an enemy to all.”
China called on the WTO to initiate an investigation of violations of international trade law.
Also on Monday, the U.S. filed five complaints to the WTO against China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey. The complaints centered around retaliatory tariffs leveled on American goods following tariffs imposed on imports to the U.S.
“The actions taken by the President are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of U.S. law and international trade rules,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
“Instead of working with us to address a common problem, some of our trading partners have elected to respond with retaliatory tariffs designed to punish American workers, farmers and companies. These tariffs appear to breach each WTO Member’s commitments under the WTO Agreement.”
The U.S. argued in the complaints that the retaliatory tariffs represent a threat to national security.
Investors did not seem too rattled by the escalating international trade conflict. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Monday up 44 points at 25,064.36.
By Barry Eitel in San Francisco