In March, US President Donald Trump signed an order to impose a 25-percent import tax on steel and 10-percent duties on aluminum. The new tariffs would be in place for an indefinite period of time, but the European Union and six other US allies, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea, were given a temporary exemption until May 1.
"China has formally requested consultations with the United States within the WTO dispute settlement process in connection with the introduction of US import duties on aluminum and steel, officially initiating the procedure of dispute resolution," the ministry said in a statement.
The Chinese side considers these tariffs discriminatory, as the United States, on the one hand, selectively excluded some countries and regions from needing to pay these taxes, and on the other hand, introduced them against some WTO members, including China.
China was forced to initiate a dispute resolution procedure to protect its legitimate interests, taking into account the fact that the US side refused to negotiate compensations, the ministry added.
On Tuesday, the Office of the US Trade Representative said in a press release that the United States was set to impose additional tariffs on around 1,300 Chinese products, including those produced by China's aerospace and information technology industries. A number of Chinese officials have already criticized the decision of the United States. Chinese media reported that China’s State Council has decided to introduce 25-percent tariffs on more than 100 goods imported from the United States as a response measure.
US additional tariffs are not the first step in the ongoing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing during the tenure of President Donald Trump. On March 22, Trump signed a memorandum to introduce new tariffs on imports from China, a trade action that the president said could be worth around $60 billion. The White House said the tariffs are designed to offset the advantages that Beijing has received through their unfair trade practices. In turn, the Chinese Commerce Ministry imposed new import tariffs on 128 US products.