China on Thursday reiterated its opposition to all forms of unilateralism and protectionism, and urged the U.S. to respect the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and settle trade frictions through dialogue.
The U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminum is deemed as a national security strategy by the country itself, but it's actually a measure of protectionism, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular briefing in Beijing.
It is a "wrong action" that should be abandoned. Otherwise, the WTO rules will be seriously violated, and the authority of the world's multilateral trading system will be harmed, Gao stressed.
Gao also said the WTO will discuss China's complaints against the U.S. during a WTO meeting in Geneva. The European Union, Russia, India and Thailand have all filed requests to join the consultations.
After months of mounting China-U.S. trade tensions, the U.S. decided to send a high-level trade delegation led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to Beijing "in a few days" to try and work out a deal.
It is unclear whether the U.S. will have a coordinated proposal to offer to China. The planned visit was given a guarded welcome in Beijing.