GENEVA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government's latest tariff plan on imports from China contradicts its commitments that such a decision be based only on the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), said China's top envoy at the WTO on Monday.
Speaking here at the WTO goods council meeting, Zhang Xiangchen, the Chinese ambassador to the WTO, said that what the United States had done contradicts its commitments made at the WTO more than a decade ago.
Zhang noted in his speech that the United States had "explicitly, officially, repeatedly and unconditionally confirmed" that it would base a "Section 301" decision only on adopted DSB findings.
"Section 301" is a measure under the U.S. Trade Act of 1974 that allows the president to take all appropriate action, including retaliation, if an investigation finds foreign trade practices burden or restrict U.S. commerce or are unreasonable or discriminatory.
"According to the WTO rulings and the U.S. commitment, the U.S. shall by no means determine unilaterally based on a 301 investigation that other members have violated the WTO rules," Zhang said during a meeting of WTO's Council on Trade in Goods.
Last Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion U.S. dollars of imports from China and restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States.
The memorandum is based on a Section 301 investigation, launched by the Trump administration in August 2017, into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices.
Accusing the United States of "setting a very bad precedent by bluntly breaching its commitment made to the world", Zhang called on WTO members to "jointly prevent the resurrection of 301 investigations and lock this beast back into the cage of the WTO rules".
He also reiterated that China is fully prepared to react to the conclusions and measures of Section 301 by the U.S., and would firmly take the WTO rules and other necessary ways to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.