Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization, waved off steam from boiling trade relations between US and China, Financial Times reports.

Just last month, the US launched a trade case over Chinese auto export subsidies and accused China of distorting the global market “by frankly flooding the world with cheap auto parts”. Beijing retaliated by filing a complaint against US duties on many Chinese exports on the same day.

Mr. Lamy told reporters, “Trade frictions are a statistical proportion of trade volumes, and trade disputes are a statistical proportion of trade frictions”. He claimed that trade disputes are merely “a natural product of a maturing economic relationship” and would not pose lasting damage on US-China economic ties.

Mr. Lamy also overlooked that the trade case is at the core of an electoral battleground. “I’m on the receiving end. It’s not for me to judge the rationale of these cases. What matters is that we process them peacefully,” he said.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Lamy heralded the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO as “a process which is rules-based, predictable and respected”.

“If you want to make sure China abides by the rules, the place is the WTO. There’s no other place,” Mr. Lamy told Financial Times.