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Hong Kong, China registers grave concern about US' plan to unilaterally raise tariffs on steel and aluminium products at WTO General Council Meeting
     Hong Kong, China (HKC) has registered grave concern about the United States' plan to unilaterally raise tariffs on steel and aluminium beyond its bound rates at the General Council Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) today (March 7) in Geneva.

     Speaking at the meeting, the Permanent Representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China to the WTO, Ms Irene Young, said HKC as an affected party cannot agree with the investigation reports released by the US Department of Commerce recently which named HKC as one of the economies proposed to be subject to tariffs on aluminium products at 23.6 per cent.

     "We have great issues with the reports' findings and recommendations and the process in which the study was conducted. We have already conveyed our objections to the US bilaterally," Ms Young said.

     HKC filed a formal representation to the US administration on February 27 to state HKC's opposition and deep concern and regret about the proposed tariffs.

     "Putting it in the WTO context, HKC cannot condone trade measures that are inconsistent with WTO agreements. For the WTO, an organisation which sets out to reduce tariffs and trade barriers, prides itself on being the bulwark against protectionism and operates on rules, such a development is profoundly disturbing. It is challenging the fundamental objectives and principles that members pledge to uphold. It is attacking the system at its roots," Ms Young said.

     Noting that other WTO members may retaliate with various forms of trade restrictions, she said HKC is also worried that these measures and counter-measures will lead to trade wars on a global scale.

     "We call upon WTO members to, first and foremost, honour their WTO commitments. We urge the parties concerned to exercise restraint, and not to introduce any unilateral trade restrictive measures, or retaliate with measures which will likewise undermine the rules-based multilateral trading system," she concluded.
Ends/Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Issued at HKT 22:47
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