Experts Say China Is Biggest Victim of Unfair Trade After US Publishes WTO Compliance Reports
Xu Wei
/SOURCE : Yicai
Experts Say China Is Biggest Victim of Unfair Trade After US Publishes WTO Compliance Reports

(Yicai Global) Jan. 22 -- China has become the world's biggest victim of unfair trade regulations, and the US does not abide by World Trade Organization rules, China Daily quoted trade experts as saying in response to documents the Trump administration published recently.

"Since joining the WTO in 2011, China has made countless efforts including removing up to 8,000 documents, policies and measures inconsistent with WTO rules," said Wei Jianguo, former vice-minister of commerce.

While the 2017 USTR Report to Congress on China's WTO Compliance said, "it seems clear that the United States erred in supporting China's entry into the WTO on terms that have proven to be ineffective in securing China's embrace of an open, market-oriented trade regime," Wei said the US is the one ignoring WTO rules, referring to the US' opposition to granting market economy status to China and its use of Section 301 of the US Trade Act to override global trade rules.

China and Russia have failed to align their economies with the commitments they made when joining the WTO, the United States Trade Representative wrote in two reports published Jan. 19.

"China has reduced tariffs to levels it had promised before joining the WTO, and the decline exceeded the previous targets," said Wei, who is the vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

Previous administrations in the US recognized China's efforts to comply with WTO rules in the face of formidable policy, institutional and market-related barriers, calling it a remarkable achievement.

The Trump administration has continuously stepped up its defiance of WTO rules and the current US government is the first to deny China's market economy status, Wei said.

"Today, almost two decades after it pledged to support the multilateral trading system of the WTO, the Chinese government pursues a wide array of continually evolving interventionist policies and practices aimed at limiting market access for imported goods and services and foreign manufacturers and services suppliers," the USTR wrote.

Wei said that after obtaining WTO membership, China allowed the market to run its course in resource allocation by opening the domestic market to foreign companies and by introducing trade liberalization and investment facilitation measures.

Some 68 percent of American companies registered positive profits for Chinese business operations in 2016, per to the China General Chamber of Commerce -- USA's White Paper on US Companies in China 2017.

By contrast, the US has blocked many investment deals proposed by private Chinese enterprises on the grounds that they may "jeopardize national security." That justification is dubious, Wei said. "The US has only approved one investment project of over USD10 million involving Chinese companies."

China and the US have closed many trade deals since President Donald Trump's inauguration, but the Office of the USTR dismissed deals such as the one that reopened China's market to American beef exporters as negligible progress.

China is the largest market for US aircraft and soybean exports and the second largest market for automobile, integrated circuit and cotton exports, per statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

China will increase imports from the US to USD8 trillion over the next five years, benefiting American exporters of agricultural and manufacturing products and services, MOFCOM forecast in the Report on China-US Economic and Trade Relations released in May.

The Chinese government does not want a trade war with the US, Wei stressed. The countries' bilateral relationship has come to a crucial point this year. Wei said he hopes that the US will work with China to calmly resolve issues through existing dialog mechanisms. 

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Keywords: US , WTO , USTR