March 22, 2018 / 2:04 AM / 4 months ago

China calls U.S. repeat abuser of world trade rules

* U.S. set to announce tariffs on Chinese imports

* WTO says U.S. anti-subsidy tariffs partly violated 2014 ruling

* China asks U.S. to provide fair, stable trading environment (.)

By Brenda Goh

SHANGHAI, March 22 (Reuters) - China accused the United States of “repeatedly abusing” international trade rules, as Beijing braced on Thursday for an imminent announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump slapping more tariffs on Chinese imports.

A World Trade Organisation ruling against Obama-era anti-subsidy tariffs on Wednesday handed China’s commerce ministry ammunition to criticise Washington’s conduct in trade affairs.

The ruling “proves that the U.S. side has violated WTO rules, repeatedly abused trade remedy measures, which has serious damaged the fair and just nature of the international trade environment and weakened the stability of the multilateral trading system,” the ministry said.

In the statement posted on its website late on Wednesday, the ministry went on to urge the United States to provide Chinese companies with a “fair and stable international trade environment.”

The WTO ruled that the United States had not fully complied with a 2014 ruling against its anti-subsidy tariffs on a range of Chinese products. However, it also supported the U.S. claim that Chinese exporters were getting subsidies from “public bodies”, despite Beijing’s assertions to the contrary.

China went to the WTO in 2012 to challenge U.S. anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese exports including solar panels, wind turbines, steel cylinders and aluminum extrusions.

Trump is expected to announce more tariffs aimed at curbing theft of U.S. technology by China by the end of the week, in a move that would likely trigger retaliation by Beijing and stoke fears of a global trade war.

While there has been no indication of their size and scope, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday the tariffs would target China’s high technology sector and there could also be restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States. Other sectors like apparel could also be hit.

An editorial in the state-run China Daily newspaper said the world should stand together to prevent a trade war, warning that China would not be the Trump administration’s only target.

“Since the US seems unlikely to mend its ways, other countries should stop hoping they will be spared its protectionist shots and become more resolute in standing firm against them,” the newspaper said.

“History shows the pinpricks of protectionism can ultimately lead to the shots of war somewhere down the line.” (Additional Reporting by Wang Jing; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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