US’ petition to probe into China’s shipbuilding industry lacks factual basis
Published: Mar 14, 2024 09:25 PM
MOFCOM spokesperson He Yadong at a press conference on December 28, 2023 Photo: Tao Mingyang/GT

MOFCOM spokesperson He Yadong at a press conference on December 28, 2023 Photo: Tao Mingyang/GT


China on Thursday slammed US' petition to probe into China's shipbuilding industry for alleged unfair practices as "trade protectionism" and "lacking factual basis."

The remarks come after the United Steelworkers and other unions filed a petition with the US Trade Representative (USTR) on Tuesday outlining alleged "unreasonable and discriminatory acts, policies, and practices" that have helped China dominate global shipbuilding, the Financial Times reported. 

He Yadong, spokesperson for the Chinese Commerce Ministry (MOFCOM) said that the accusations made by some US organizations against China are completely unfounded.

Multiple reports have pointed out that the decline of the US shipbuilding industry is mainly due to overprotection while the development of the Chinese shipbuilding industry has benefited from increasing technological innovation and high-end, intelligent and green development, He said.

China has maintained its top position in the global shipbuilding market in 2023, with strong growth in both output and new orders, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The country'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, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Over the past few decades, the US has essentially stopped building its own ships. China meanwhile has tripled its production relative to the US over the past two decades, producing more than 1,000 ocean-going vessels last year, versus the US' 10, the Financial Times reported.

"US blaming China for its own industrial development issues lacks factual basis," He said.

The petition was filed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The USTR office said it will review the allegations from the unions and decide within 45 days whether they merit a probe, according to media reports.

He said that the Section 301 measures are typical examples of unilateralism, which violates the basic principles of the WTO and disregards multilateral trade rules. Previous Section 301 measures taken by the US against China have been ruled to violate WTO rules.

It is hoped that the US will make prudent decisions and avoid making the same mistakes. The Chinese side will closely follow how it proceeds and take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights, He added.