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Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Increased US Tariffs

The Biden administration recently announced increased tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and other products. On May 15, Wang Yi, China’s Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave a harsh response to a reporter’s question on the topic.

“Everyone has seen that for some time now, the U.S. has frequently imposed unilateral sanctions on China, abused Section 301 tariffs, and almost madly suppressed China’s normal economic, trade, and technological activities. This is the most typical hegemonic bullying in the world today! It shows that some people in the U.S. have reached the point of losing their minds in order to maintain their one-sided hegemony. The U.S.’ suppression of China by any means does not demonstrate America’s strength, but instead exposes the U.S.’ lack of confidence and confusion; it cannot solve the problems inside the U.S., but will instead further disrupt the normal operation of the international production and supply chain; it cannot stop China’s development and revitalization, but will instead inspire the 1.4 billion Chinese people to work even harder.

“The World Trade Organization (WTO) has clearly concluded that the U.S. Section 301 tariffs violate WTO rules and are acts that violate international law. International trade professionals with basic common sense all believe that the U.S.’ actions are harmful to others while not offering any benefits to the U.S. itself. As one of the WTO founders, the U.S. not only refuses to set a good example but also leads the way in violating WTO rules. Instead of correcting its mistakes, the U.S. continues to compound them. How can the U.S. explain the idea of “fair competition” that it touts? How can it gain the trust of the international community?

“Unilateral actions and protectionism go against the current trend and will surely be crushed by the wheels of history. At this critical moment of global economic recovery, the international community needs to warn the U.S. against creating more troubles for the world going forward.”

Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a comparatively mild response at the news briefing on May 15:

“I want to emphasize that the U.S. is compounding its own mistakes by politicizing economic and trade issues via further increased tariffs on China. These actions will only result in significantly raised costs of imported goods, causing American businesses and consumers to bear more losses and imposing a greater burden on American consumers.

“We urge the U.S. to earnestly abide by the rules of the WTO and immediately lift the tariffs imposed on China. China will take all necessary measures to defend its own rights and interests.”

1. Foreign Affairs Ministry website, May 15, 2024
2. Xinhua, May 15, 2024