U.S. probe targeting China's maritime, logistics, shipbuilding sectors lacks factual basis: ministry

2024-04-18 09:11:33Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The U.S. petition regarding China's maritime, logistics and shipbuilding sectors is filled with numerous unfounded accusations, distorting normal trade and investment activities, and China strongly opposes this, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Wednesday.

The remarks came after the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced on Wednesday that after reviewing a petition filed with the USTR by five national labor unions, the U.S. government department is initiating a probe targeting China's maritime, logistics and shipbuilding sectors due to so-called market dominance.

The statement accused China of utilizing so-called non-market policies and practices to "undermine fair competition and dominate the corresponding market."

In response to the U.S. statement, the MOFCOM spokesperson said that the allegations by the U.S. are groundless. They also lack "both factual basis and economic common sense," the spokesperson said.

Multiple U.S. research reports show that the U.S. shipbuilding industry lost its competitive advantage years ago amid excessive protectionism. While the U.S. provides discriminatory subsidies amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars to its industries, it accuses China of adopting so-called "non-market practices," the spokesperson said.

The development of China's industries is the result of technological innovation and active participation in market competition, and the U.S. accusations are fundamentally unfounded, the spokesperson noted.

The previous Trump administration in the U.S. initiated a Section 301 investigation against China and imposed tariffs, which the WTO ruled to be in violation of WTO rules. Numerous WTO members also opposed the probe.

Launching a new Section 301 investigation for domestic political needs is adding one mistake after another, the spokesperson said.

China urges the U.S. to respect the facts and multilateral rules, immediately cease its erroneous practices, and return to a rules-based multilateral trading system, the spokesperson said, noting that China will closely monitor the progress of the investigation and will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard its own interests.

On March 12, some U.S. unions filed a petition with the USTR outlining alleged "unreasonable and discriminatory acts, policies, and practices" that have helped China dominate global shipbuilding, which MOFCOM strongly refuted.

China was the leading player in the global shipbuilding industry in 2023, experiencing significant growth in both production and new orders, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology reveals China's shipbuilding output climbed 11.8 percent year-on-year to 42.32 million deadweight tons in 2023, accounting for 50.2 percent of the world's total.

Over the past few decades, the U.S. has essentially stopped building its own ships. China, meanwhile, has raised its production over the past two decades, producing more than 1,000 ocean-going vessels last year, versus the U.S.' 10, according to a report by the Financial Times in March.


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