World trade rules too weak to stop China distorting market – US

Trump administration steps up its attack on rival, saying terms for Beijing’s membership of the WTO were too lenient

The Guardian
Date: January 19, 2018
By: Reuters

The United States mistakenly supported China’s membership of the World Trade Organisation

WTO rules are ‘not sufficient’ to constrain China’s market-distorting behavior, a report to US Congress says. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

in 2001 on terms that have failed to force Beijing to open its economy, the Trump administration has said.

As the White House prepares its long-promised crackdown on what it sees as China’s unfair trade practices, the administration said in a report to Congress: “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-orientated trade regime..

“It is now clear that the WTO rules are not sufficient to constrain China’s market-distorting behavior,” the report said.

While the US trade representative’s office has long taken China to task for unfair trade practices, the first such review under Donald Trump’s presidency takes a harsher tone against Beijing.

It comes amid worsening trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies and as the administration prepares actions to curb China’s alleged theft of intellectual property. A decision in the so-called “section 301” investigation is expected in the coming weeks.