China will "take all necessary measures" to defend its rights and interests, an official with the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday, responding to media reports that the United States will soon release results of a Section 301 investigation against China.
"China will absolutely not sit back watching its rights and interests be damaged," said an unnamed official in charge of the ministry's treaty and law department.
In August 2017, the United States initiated an investigation into Chinese intellectual property and technology transfers under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
Media reports said that the U.S. administration would soon make public the investigation results and impose restrictive measures on China.
"Concerning the Section 301 investigation, China has made clear its position several times that it stands firmly against such unilateral and trade protectionist practices from the U.S. side," the official said.
Since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1979, bilateral trade has surged 232 times, and total two-way investment has exceeded 230 billion dollars.
U.S. industries have expressed worries about the unilateral actions taken by the United States, with 45 business associations having already expressed their opposition, according to the official.
"We hope that the United States can realize the mutually beneficial essence of Sino-U.S. economic and trade ties, and that it won't do anything to impair the interests of others or itself," said the official.
This was the second statement by the ministry within 24 hours regarding trade relations with the United States.
On Wednesday, the WTO ruled that 11 U.S. anti-subsidy measures are against its rules.
The WTO ruling "once again proved that the U.S. side violated WTO rules, repeatedly abused trade remedy measures, seriously damaged the fair and just international trade environment, and weakened the stability of the multilateral trading system," a ministry spokesperson said.
China asked the United States to take immediate actions to rectify its mistakes in anti-subsidy investigations against China and provide a fair and stable trade environment for Chinese enterprises, the spokesperson said.
Li Yong, president of China Association of International Trade, said that retaliatory and counter measures would only be China's last resorts.
"We will not sit around. Speculations that a potential trade war might affect Boeing aircraft and soybeans are not unfounded," said he.
Tu Xinquan, professor of the University of International Business and Economics, said that a "decisive element" in a trade war is not loss itself but the capability to bear losses.
"China has the confidence and capability to fight a trade war," said he, urging the United States to ditch the zero-sum mentality and open its market wider and in a transparent way, as China constantly opens its market wider.
He said that if the U.S. bypassed the WTO and took unilateral measures, it would be against the WTO rules and an act of trade protectionism.
"The true intention behind the U.S. moves needs to be surveyed," said Zhang Monan, researcher with China Center for International Economic Exchanges.
"The United States is using trade wars as a tool to exert pressure upon China, seeking to win concessions," she added.