China urged the European Union (EU) to obey the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and stop its unfair treatment of China.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei made the remarks following comments by EU Trade Minister Cecilia Malmstrom on Wednesday. She said the EU must maintain solid trade defenses even if it decides to grant China market economy status.
China joined the WTO in 2001. The WTO accession protocol means China will automatically transit to a market economy for Europe by Dec. 11, 2016, the 15th anniversary of its accession to the organization. However, Europe insists this must be debated.
"We've heard different opinions on China's market economy status from the EU recently," Hong said, noting that China had fulfilled its obligations since becoming a member of WTO.
So far, over 80 countries, including Russia, New Zealand, Singapore and Australia, have recognized China's status as a market economy.
China is now the EU's second largest trading partner and one of the biggest markets for the 28-member bloc.
The EU is an important member of the WTO, a vital supporting force to the multilateral trade and international legal systems, Hong said, adding that China hopes the EU will fulfill its commitments to China's entry into WTO.
(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2016)