Rule-based fair trade called vi­tal for world

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Page Two - By LIU XUAN and ZHOU JIN Con­tact the writ­ers at li­ux­uan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn Reuters and AFP con­trib­uted to this story.

Coun­tries, es­pe­cially ma­jor economies, should firmly op­pose trade and in­vest­ment protectionism and safe­guard the nor­mal in­ter­na­tional trade or­der, For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said on Fri­day.

Hua told a daily news con­fer­ence that all coun­tries should main­tain a fair, open and rule­based mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem, with the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion as a core, to pro­mote sus­tained global eco­nomic re­cov­ery and growth. She made the re­marks while re­spond­ing to the de­ci­sion by the United States to im­pose tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum ex­ports from the Eu­ro­pean Union, Canada and Mex­ico.

“Re­spon­si­ble coun­tries should take re­spon­si­ble poli­cies and ac­tions to jointly in­ject pos­i­tive en­ergy for global sta­bil­ity,” she said. It is by no means an ef­fec­tive, ben­e­fi­cial or a con­struc­tive way to shift one’s own trou­bles onto oth­ers, she said.

“China is will­ing to work with rel­e­vant coun­tries to con­tinue to up­hold mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and in­ter­na­tional rules, ad­vance the process of eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion and build an open world econ­omy,” she added.

US Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wil­bur Ross an­nounced the tar­iffs in a tele­phone brief­ing on Thurs­day, end­ing months of un­cer­tainty about po­ten­tial ex­emp­tions.

Ross said talks with Canada and Mex­ico over the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment are “tak­ing longer than we had hoped”. He said ne­go­ti­a­tions with Europe have “made some progress” but not enough to merit an ex­emp­tion.

The Eu­ro­pean Union, Canada and Mex­ico hit back, an­nounc­ing re­tal­ia­tory ac­tions on goods im­ported from the US.

Canadian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau told a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day that the US tar­iffs were “to­tally un­ac­cept­able”, and the coun­try will stand up to US tar­iffs with re­tal­ia­tory du­ties on up to C$16.6 bil­lion ($12.8 bil­lion) in US im­ports.

The Canadian tar­iffs, which For­eign Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land said are pro­por­tional to the US du­ties, will be ap­plied to US steel and alu­minum as well as con­sumer prod­ucts start­ing on July 1. These items will in­clude yo­gurt, cof­fee, sugar, toi­let pa­per, sail­boats, mat­tresses, wash­ing ma­chines and lawn mow­ers.

Mex­ico said it was im­pos­ing wide-rang­ing “equiv­a­lent” mea­sures to an­swer Wash­ing­ton’s lat­est move, and these will be in place un­til the US gov­ern­ment elim­i­nates its tar­iffs.

Its mea­sures tar­get pork legs, ap­ples, grapes and cheese as well as steel — prod­ucts from US heart­land states that sup­ported US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in the 2016 elec­tion.

Ilde­fonso Gua­jardo, econ­omy min­is­ter of Mex­ico, said the US tar­iffs would af­fect $4 bil­lion in trade be­tween the two coun­tries.

Mean­while, the Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment con­demned on Thurs­day the US de­ci­sion to im­pose steel and alu­minum tar­iffs on the Eu­ro­pean Union, urg­ing the EU to re­act “im­me­di­ately with a firm but pro­por­tion­ate” response.

The EU ear­lier threat­ened to counter by tar­get­ing US prod­ucts, in­clud­ing Ken­tucky bour­bon, blue­jeans and mo­tor­cy­cles.

Ger­man Econ­omy Min­is­ter Peter Alt­maier said the EU might team up with Canada and Mex­ico.

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