Statement by Ambassador ZHANG Xiangchen on
the US Section 301 at the Meeting of the WTO’s
Council on Trade in Goods
（Geneva, 26 March 2018）
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
China noticed that on 22 March, the United States published the final conclusions and measures of the Section 301 investigations against China. China firmly opposes this action by the US. The unilateral action of the US Section 301 investigations will not only impair the rights and interests of China and other WTO Members, but also seriously undermine the multilateral trading system.
Section 301 investigations and measures are purely unilateral which are per se prohibited by Article 23 of the DSU, and violate the most fundamental values and principles of this organization. According to the WTO rulings and the US commitment, the US shall by no means determine unilaterally based on a 301 investigation that other Members have violated the WTO rules. When it comes to matters related to the WTO Agreements, the US shall strictly abide by the WTO rules and findings of the DSB.
What US has done contradicts its commitments that US had "explicitly, officially, repeatedly and unconditionally confirmed" before the Panel in DS152, that the USTR would base a Section 301 decision only on adopted DSB findings. The panel in DS152 also warned that "should the US repudiate or remove in any way these undertakings, the US would incur state responsibility since its law would be rendered inconsistent with the obligations under Article 23."
The unilateral measures of US Section 301 had been ceased after the establishment of WTO, however, upon this time, the US is setting a very bad precedent by bluntly breaching its commitment made to the world. WTO members should jointly prevent the resurrection of 301 investigations and lock this beast back into the cage of the WTO rules.
China is fully prepared to react to the conclusions and measures of Section 301 by the US, and will firmly take the WTO rules and other necessary ways to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests. Undoubtedly, China is facing a tough test, and we're prepared for the difficulties ahead. If someone asks what the character of the Chinese people is, I'd say that it is like a bamboo, resilient enough to dance in the wind, but strong enough to withstand tremendous pressure.
Unilateralism is fundamentally incompatible with the WTO, like fire and water. In the open sea, if the boat capsizes, no one is safe from drowning. We shouldn't stay put watching someone wrecking the boat. The WTO is under siege and all of us should lock arms to defend it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.