China criticizes Trump tariffs on solar, washing machines

FILE- This April 20, 2011, file photo shows some of the 30,000 solar panels that make up the Public Service Company of New Mexico's new 2-megawatt photovoltaic array in Albuquerque, N.M. Some in the U.S. solar-power industry are hoping a decision this week by President Donald Trump doesn’t bring on an eclipse. Companies that install solar-power systems for homeowners and utilities are bracing for Trump’s call on whether to slap tariffs on imported panels. The solar business in the U.S. has boomed in recent years, driven by falling prices for panels, thanks in part to cheap imports. That has made solar power more competitive with electricity generated from coal and natural gas. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan,File)

China is criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to approve higher tariffs on solar power components and washing machines as an abuse of trade remedies

BEIJING — China on Tuesday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to raise import duties on solar power components and washing machines as an abuse of trade remedies.

Trump's unilateral action could threaten the international trading system, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement. It repeated criticism that Washington is improperly responding to trade complaints under U.S. law instead of through the World Trade Organization.

Trump acted on a recommendation by the U.S. International Trade Commission to limit the impact on American manufacturers from a flood of lower-cost imports.

"The U.S. side once again abused its trade remedy measures," the Commerce Ministry statement said. "China expresses its strong dissatisfaction with this."

Chinese officials have repeatedly accused Trump of jeopardizing international trade regulation by imposing penalties under U.S. law instead of pursuing a WTO complaint.

"China hopes the United States will exercise restraint in using trade restrictions and compliance with multilateral trade rules and will play a positive role in promoting the world economy," the statement said.

Beijing will "resolutely defend its legitimate interests," it said, giving no details of a possible response.

On Monday, the foreign ministry defended China's role as a global trader after the U.S. Trade Representative's office said Washington had made a mistake by supporting Beijing's WTO membership on terms that failed to open its economy.

China is "making great contributions" to trade, said a ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying. She said "unilateral actions" by Washington "pose an unprecedented challenge" to the multilateral trading system.

Beijing faces growing complaints from Washington, Europe and other trading partners that it improperly subsidizes exports and hampers access to its banking, energy and other industries in violation of market-opening commitments it made when it joined the WTO in 2001.

The Trump administration is expected to announce results in coming weeks of its "Section 301" investigation launched in August into whether Beijing improperly pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. The Commerce Ministry said earlier Beijing will "resolutely safeguard" its interests if Washington takes action.

Also this month, Chinese authorities criticized Washington for invoking national security concerns in blocking e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma's proposed acquisition of the money transfer service MoneyGram.

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