China calls WTO ruling on tariffs ‘objective and fair’


    GENEVA- China’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization said on Monday that a panel ruling by the global trade body this month which found that Washington had breached rules through its multi-billion dollar China tariffs was “objective and fair”.

    The ruling on September 15 said that tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods broke trade rules because they were above maximum rates and applied only to China.

    “We think that the panel made an objective and fair decision,” Zhang Xiangchen said at a virtual trade conference in which his US counterpart Dennis Shea also participated.

    “We hope that it will facilitate the prompt resolution of the dispute between China and the US,” he added. Shea did not comment on the case at the event although the US Trade Representative previously criticized the ruling.

    If Washington chooses to appeal the ruling, the dispute will go into a legal void, as the top WTO appeals body is paralyzed because the United States has blocked the appointment of judges.

    In the ruling, the panel recommended that Washington bring its measures into conformity with trade rules, while urging both sides to work to resolve the overall trade dispute.

    Meanwhile, China’s factory activity likely grew at a slightly faster pace in September, a Reuters poll showed on Monday, as the economy extends a steady recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

    The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) is expected to pick up moderately to 51.2 in September from August’s 51, according to the median forecast of 28 economists polled by Reuters. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity on a monthly basis.

    China’s vast industrial sector is steadily returning to the levels seen before the pandemic paralyzed huge swathes of the economy early this year.

    Pent-up demand, stimulus-driven infrastructure and surprisingly resilient exports have been the main drivers propelling the rebound. Consumption is also slowly recovering, despite signs of lagging spending among low-income groups.

    Profits at China’s industrial firms extended their robust growth for the fourth month in August, official data showed on Sunday.

    Moreover, China’s auto market rebounded smartly from the COVID-19 crash in recent months, executives said at a rare in-person trade show on Saturday.