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China says defiance of WTO rules could lead to trade war

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-10 09:07

BEIJING - China on Thursday urged support for the World Trade Organization (WTO), warning that defiance of WTO rules could lead to a trade war.

Sun Jiwen, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), told a press briefing that China firmly supports WTO and will defend the authority of its rules.

"If WTO members ignore the organization's rules for their own sake and refuse to implement its rulings on disputes, the multilateral trade system will exist in name only and there could even be a repetition of the trade war of the 1930s," Sun said.

The rulings of the WTO's dispute settlement system are enforceable and "have teeth," he noted.

The comments came after last week's release of an annual trade policy agenda document by the US Trade Representative's office, which signaled the US administration might defy WTO rulings that it views as interfering with US sovereignty.

Sun said the WTO was essential to countering trade protectionism and helping the global economic recovery through the handling of trade disputes.

Economic globalization is inevitable, Sun told reporters, noting that conforming to WTO rules is a must for fair trade, which the United States has vowed to defend.

"We call on major WTO members to live by what they teach, abide by WTO rules and fulfill their duties," he said.

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