US probe targeting China's maritime, logistics, shipbuilding sectors lacks factual basis: ministry
Published: Apr 18, 2024 01:08 AM
The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Photo: VCG

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Photo: VCG

The US 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 US Trade Representative (USTR) announced on Wednesday that after reviewing a petition filed with the USTR by five national labor unions, the US 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 US statement, the MOFCOM spokesperson said that the allegations by the US are groundless. They also lack "both factual basis and economic common sense," the spokesperson said.

Multiple US research reports show that the US shipbuilding industry lost its competitive advantage years ago amid excessive protectionism. While the US 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 US accusations are fundamentally unfounded, the spokesperson noted.

The previous Trump administration in the US 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 US 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 US 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 US 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 US' 10, according to a report by the Financial Times in March.

Global Times