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Sanctions against U.S. firms selling arms to Taiwan not violating WTO rules: Chinese experts

BEIJING, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- China is not violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules by taking sanctions against the U.S. firms involved in the latest arms sales to Taiwan, experts said here Friday.

Zhang Hanlin, director of the WTO Institute of the University of International Business and Economics, commented after media reports suggested China would violate WTO agreements if it sanctioned the companies.

"China has yet to join the Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft administered by the WTO, which means China can stop buying civilian aircraft produced by these companies," Zhang said.

The 6.4-billion U.S.-dollar arms sale package, which the Obama administration announced on last Friday, makes Boeing, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon potential targets for Chinese sanctions.

Zhang also pointed to Article 21 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which says "contracting parties are free to apply trade controls they deem necessary for national security."

"As the arms sales to Taiwan poses a threat to China's national security, China has the right to penalize the companies," Zhang said.

Mei Xinyu, researcher with the Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, said, "No international organization is allowed to deprive any country of the right to sanction companies that hurt that country's national security."

Wang Yong, professor with the School of International Studies of Peking University, said, "The United Sates should realize that China will protect its core interests unwaveringly, which include the national sovereignty and territorial integrity issues."

"China is likely to continue to impose sanctions on parties infringing on its core interests, as its strength grows," Wang said.


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