EU to be blamed for escalating trade frictions with China

China’s commerce ministry said Friday that the European Union (EU) is to blame for escalating trade frictions, which could lead to a “trade war.”

“The responsibility lies solely with the EU side,” the ministry said in a statement commenting on concerns from the European side over possible escalations of trade frictions.

China does not want to see the ongoing trade frictions with the EU, the ministry stressed, pointing out that it was the European side that “regrettably” kept provoking trade disputes.

Since the beginning of this year, the EU imposed 31 restrictive trade and investment measures against China, 25 of which were trade remedies, seriously undermining China-EU economic and trade cooperation, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, China has demonstrated an open and cooperative attitude and explicitly sought to solve the issues through dialogue and consultation, said the ministry.

China has always followed the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and used trade remedy measures with prudence and restraint, it said.

The European Commission on June 12 unveiled provisional tariffs ranging from 17.4 percent to 38.1 percent for Chinese electric vehicle (EV) makers. It accused China of “unfair subsidization” in its EV value chain, but did not explain the factual or legal bases for the tariff plan.

The commerce ministry said the EU has failed to implement a consensus to deepen cooperation and handle differences between leaders of the two sides in the proper manner, and it has failed to comply with WTO rules or protect the legitimate interests of enterprises.

It said that the EU launched the investigation on its own initiative, used countervailing investigation tools inappropriately, and fabricated and exaggerated so-called subsidized projects to rule in favor of the heightened tariffs.

The European side has also requested excessive information — often involving commercial secrets — from Chinese enterprises through intimidation and coercion, distorted investigation results, and ignored the opinions and evidence submitted in defense by the companies involved, the ministry added.

Rebuking the EU’s actions as “typical acts of protectionism,” the ministry said that China is determined to safeguard its legitimate and lawful interests, and hopes the EU will handle differences through dialogue and prevent trade frictions from escalating or moving out of control.

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