China will partner the European Union in establishing a working group to support the World Trade Organisation and oppose growing US unilateralism and protectionism, the South China Morning Post reports.
The plans were announced by Vice-President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen at a news briefing with China’s vice-premier and senior economic adviser, Liu He, in Washington.
Both parties agreed on the need to uphold the international trade system and resist protectionist impulses from the White House, with recent US tariffs set to impact both economies.
“Even though one cannot accept unilateral action, which is in violation of the principles and rules of the WTO, once the US is doing so, it tells us we have to update the WTO to be better suited for the existing environment,” said Kaitanen.
He went on, however, to raise the issue of intellectual property and unfair trade practices by China, inviting these questions to be included in the working group’s agenda. The EU expects a “comprehensive and as wide as possible” opening up by China, said Kaitanen, and the country’s overcapacity in some industries must be addressed.