BEIJING — The Chinese government issued a muted statement Thursday in response to a World Trade Organization suit filed earlier this week by the Obama administration alleging the country is illegally using export subsidies. 

China’s Commerce Ministry said it hoped the WTO “will appropriately handle this based on the dispute resolution process,” according to a statement posted on its website.

The Chinese ministry expressed regret over the suit, adding that China “has always respected the rules of the WTO” and that the country’s policies are “part of the transformation and upgrade of our foreign trade.” 

There has otherwise been little Chinese response to the WTO suit, with only minor news reports in China’s state-run media, which is known to sometimes publish vociferous editorial attacks against the United States when conflicts arise between the two nations. Instead, news has largely focused on an upcoming visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the White House in September, which Chinese media is painting as a sign of even closer ties between the two nations.

The WTO suit targets a broad export subsidy program, including seven sectors, among which are apparel, textiles and footwear. The U.S. is accusing China of providing around $1 billion of illegal subsidies over three years to suppliers, which then gave free or discounted services to Chinese manufacturers in the export sectors identified.

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