China Seeks EU's Support in Standing Up to U.S. Trade Threat

(Bloomberg) -- China called on the European Union to aid the Asian nation in rejecting protectionism from the U.S. and upholding the international trade order.

China and the EU “need to stand up together with a clear-cut position against protectionism, and need to work with each other to uphold the rules-based multilateral trade order,” Zhang Ming, the head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, said in an email response to questions from Bloomberg. Recent U.S. actions go “completely against the fundamental principles and values of the World Trade Organization,” he said.

China is in the midst of an escalating trade dispute with Washington and said on Wednesday it would levy an additional 25 percent tariff on about $50 billion of U.S. imports including soybeans, automobiles, chemicals and aircraft. That was in response to the release by the U.S. of a list of proposed tariffs a day earlier, covering $50 billion in Chinese products. President Donald Trump on Thursday increased the pressure by threatening additional levies on $100 billion in Chinese goods.

“China and the EU have kept positive, sound and timely communication following the U.S. move,” according to China’s head of mission. China and the EU need to work together to “sustain the sound momentum of global economic growth,” he said.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has said it’s currently in high-level talks seeking to alleviate the situation.

“The EU believes that measures should always be taken within the WTO framework, which provides numerous tools to effectively deal with trade differences,” Commission Spokesman Daniel Rosario said this week. “We call on the relevant parties to ensure WTO compliance of their trade actions.”

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