WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The European Union shares the United States’ concern over China’s trade practices, including cybertheft, the bloc’s trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmstroem, said.
“We very much share the criticism that the US has voiced, we have done the same when it comes to China as a country with massive subsidies to state-owned companies, with forced technology transfers, cybertheft and so on, and we are working with the US and Japan actually, in a working group trying to address these issues within the WTO [World Trade Organization],” Malmstroem said in an interview with the CNBC news late on Wednesday.
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On Wednesday, Malmstroem had a meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Following the meeting, the EU official noted that the European Union had already started drafting the list of US goods that would be slapped with tariffs if the United States imposes duties on automobile exports from the European Union in addition to “not justified” tariffs on aluminum and steel.
“The tariffs that we put on, you mentioned Harley-Davidson [US motorcycles] and a few other products, were the results of the tariffs on the 25 percents on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, so these were a sort of retaliatory measures by the European Union, we are ready to take them away the same day as the US would take away their tariffs on steel and aluminum… And should the US, which we certainly hope will not happen, also impose tariffs on cars and car parts, likewise, we would retaliate on a number of products, we are in the preparatory phase of having such a list if it would be needed,” the trade commissioner said.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has been waging trade wars across the world. In June, Trump slapped Europe with tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the United States, with the bloc retaliating by levying its own tariffs on over $3.2 billion worth of the US imports, including motorcycles. In July, Trump said that the United States would refrain from imposing new tariffs on EU goods as long as the two sides are engaged in negotiations, however, later, the president once again threatened to hit the bloc with 25 percent tariffs on automobiles.
The US president also unleashed war against one of the world’s largest economies — China — announcing 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of imported Chinese goods and prompting Beijing to respond in kind. In September, Washington announced 10 percent import duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with the tariffs set to leap to 25 percent on January 1, 2019.
The United States has accused China of stealing trade secrets from US companies and of using “unfair trade practices,” including dumping and higher tariffs on the goods exported from the United States.