China issues warning ahead of reported US trade measures

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) warned on Thursday (August 3) that a potential fight over trade could harm both China and the US and urged the US to follow rules under the WTO regarding any trade measures.

"The China-US trade relationship is… mutually beneficial. Cooperation would benefit both sides and fighting would hurt both," Gao Feng, a spokesman for MOFCOM, said in response to a question about potential US trade measures against China.

"Any member of the WTO should comply with WTO rules when taking any trade measures," Gao told a press briefing in Beijing, while urging the US to engage in dialogues and consultation with China to address difference regarding bilateral trade.

The US government is planning on a broad investigation into China's trade practices, according to US media. Though specifics of the reported plan remain elusive, the probe is said to focus on China's so-called intellectual property law violations and ''unfair'' treatment of US companies.

Gao on Thursday offered a firm rebuttal of such claims. "What I want to stress is that the Chinese government has always been paying attention to intellectual property protection and the results should be obvious to all," he said.

The spokesman also said that China is streamlining regulations on foreign investment in the country and welcomes all foreign investors, including those from the US, to invest in China through acquisitions and mergers. He further pointed out that US investment in merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in China has been on the rise in recent years, except for 2015. In the first half of 2017, US investment in M&A deals in China increased 2.3 percent year-on-year.

The US' move, which is said to come in the next several days, could reverse a positive trend in the China-US relationship established during meetings between the leaders of the two countries in Florida and in Germany on the sidelines of the G20 summit, analysts said.

Gao said on Thursday that China hopes to maintain the momentum of positive cooperation between the two sides.

"We have always maintained a cooperative spirit in working with the US side to move forward the China-US economic and trade relationship," he added.

Source: Global Times