Sept. 3 (UPI) -- China has asked the World Trade Organization to intervene in the trade conflict with the United States -- filing a lawsuit to oppose the new U.S. tariffs that kicked in this week.
The Trump administration enacted a new 15 percent tariff Sunday that affects more than $100 billion worth of Chinese exports, including shoes, clothing and textiles. The suit, filed Monday under the WTO's dispute settlement mechanisms, allows China to "safeguard its legitimate rights and interests."
"On Sept. 1, the first batch of U.S. tariffs on China's $300 billion U.S. dollars exported to the United States was officially implemented," China's commerce ministry said. "The U.S. taxation measures are seriously contrary to the consensus of the heads of the two countries in Osaka. China is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed."
China has filed similar complaints over previous U.S. tariffs, and the United States has 60 days to reach a settlement or the WTO could rule in Beijing's favor. Experts believe, as it showed with prior challenges, the WTO is unlikely to act.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday the United States is doing "very well" in trade negotiations with China.
"While I am sure they would love to be dealing with a new administration so they could continue their practice of 'ripoff USA' ($600 B/year), 16 months PLUS is a long time to be hemorrhaging jobs and companies on a long-shot," Trump tweeted, adding that a deal would get "much tougher" if he wins re-election next year.
"In the meantime, China's supply Chain will crumble and businesses, jobs and money will be gone," he wrote.
The WTO could order the United States to make changes but such a process would take years and it's possible the Trump administration could take drastic action to avoid that, said Shen Jianguang, chief economist at JD Digit who monitors China.
"Also, Trump had threatened to pull the U.S. out of the WTO, so there's no way to force U.S. to do anything even if [China] wins the case," Shen said. "China values multilateralism even as Trump is pursuing unilateralism."
Trade representatives from both nations are supposed to meet in Washington, D.C., this month but Chinese officials haven't confirmed the meeting. An editorial in the state-run People's Daily said China has tried to solve trade disputes with the United States with the "greatest sincerity." Beijing has said it wants the tariffs removed before talks begin. Another round of taxes is scheduled to take effect Dec. 15.