WASHINGTON: US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross on Tuesday chided China for not complying with the international trade rules and called Beijing a principal military and economic threat in the Asian region.
Ross made these remarks while speaking at the Milken Institute Asia Summit, CNBC reported.
“China continues to be both the largest potential market and the principal military and economic threat in the region,” Ross said.
The US secretary of commerce said that China makes up a good portion of the US entity list that restricts companies’ access to American suppliers for national security reasons, adding that Beijing accounts for 210 out of 539 anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders imposed by the US.
Anti-dumping and countervailing duties are slapped on products suspected of being sold at an unfairly low price.
Chinese firms that have been put on the entity list include telecommunications giant Huawei.
Commenting on the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership between China and 14 other Asia-Pacific Countries, Ross said that the pact will not tackle the “most sensitive issues” in trade. Those issues include subsidies to state-owned companies, protection of intellectual property and equal market access, he said.
“It is essential that we continue to encourage freer and fairer trade everywhere while protecting our national security and our economic interest,” he said. “The US is actually the least protectionist major economy.”
China and the US are at loggerheads since President Donald Trump took office over many issues including trade, Indo-Pacific, coronavirus and Uyghurs. The tensions between the two countries have escalated in recent times.
Over the last two years, the two countries have imposed retaliatory tariffs on each others’ products triggering a trade war that threatened the global economy.
The tariff fight came to a pause this year when both sides signed the “phase one” trade agreement, which Ross on Tuesday said “deals with some of our bilateral issues.” Among other things, the deal commits China to buy at least $200 billion more in US goods and services over two years — in 2020 and 2021- on top of its purchases in 2017.
Ross said China has since purchased over USD 23 billion of US agriculture products — or around 70 percent of the agreed amount for this year. However, China has bought “lesser percentages” of other items under the deal, he added.
“Now that China has announced its recovery from the pandemic, we hope they- as a result- will meet the phase one two-year target,” said Ross.