China warns 'all appropriate measures' against US over Donald Trump's trade probe

Beijing: China on Monday warned that it will take "all appropriate measures" in response to probe ordered by US president Donald Trump into Beijing's IPR violations, which could have an adverse impact on the trade ties between the world's top two economies.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday formally initiated an investigation into China's intellectual property (IP) practices under a rarely used trade law, sparking worries in Beijing over its lucrative trade ties with Washington.

Section 301, once heavily used in the 1980s and the early 1990s, allows the US to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions on foreign countries.

File image of US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping. AP

File image of US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping. AP

But the US has rarely used the outdated trade tool since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) came into being in 1995. Without specifying the measures, a spokesperson of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said China will take "all appropriate measures" to defend interests and will keep an eye on the investigation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Terming the move as "irresponsible", the spokesperson said the US criticism of China's IP protection was "not objective."

"China is strongly discontented about such unilateral, protectionist practice," the spokesperson said in a statement. Since the historic meeting between the presidents of both countries in April, the two sides have made solid progress, and the launch of the investigation sent a wrong signal to the world, the official said.

The spokesperson called for the US to make joint efforts with China to promote economic cooperation under the one-year plan and to strive to obtain bigger results.

"We urge the United States to respect facts, respect wishes from businesses of both countries for cooperation, respect multilateral rules, and act with prudence," the spokesperson said.

The US-China bilateral trade last year totalled to $578.6 billion. China had the lion's share with its exports to the US amounting to $462.8 billion against US export of $115.8 billion.

The US goods trade deficit with China amounted to $347.0 billion, according to official figures.

Updated Date: Aug 21, 2017 17:16 PM

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