US and trading partners urge China to continue liberalization


Chinese and American flags fly in front of an American company building in Beijing, China on January 21, 2021. REUTERS / Tingshu Wang

GENEVA, Oct. 20 (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday that China’s industrial policies “lay the groundwork” against imported goods and services, as well as their foreign suppliers, and that Washington will implement all means to obtain reforms.

China’s other major trading partners – including Australia, Britain, Canada and the European Union – have also called on the world’s second-largest economy to continue liberalizing and opening up its vast markets, trade sources said. .

In addition to industrial subsidies, other “unfair business practices” include preferential treatment for state-owned enterprises, data restrictions, inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights and computer theft, said the US charge d’affaires. David Bisbee at the World Trade Organization.

He was addressing a closed-door WTO meeting, which continues on Friday, to conduct China’s first trade policy watchdog review since 2018.

The United States and Canada have both denounced China’s alleged “economic coercion” against other WTO member states who denounce its practices.

“We also cannot ignore reports of China’s use of forced labor in several sectors,” Bisbee said, apparently referring to activists’ allegations of ethnic Uyghurs detained in Xinjiang, an accusation Beijing said. denies.

The United States would use all available tools to try to persuade China to make the necessary changes, he added in remarks made available by the US trade delegation in Geneva.

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, who led his 20-member delegation, told the meeting, “Since the last review, China has remained committed to deepening reforms, expanding, opening up and developing its economy. open to a higher level.

“China has strengthened the protection of intellectual property through legislative, administrative and judicial means, and has fulfilled its transparency obligations,” he said.

Other WTO members have urged China to continue reforming to achieve fairer competition and transparency in the market, trade sources said.

The EU has said the degree to which China has reformed and opened up is not commensurate with its weight in the global economy, nor comparable to the access of its products to the markets of other members of the EU. WTO. He urged China to adopt further market reforms and play a role in the WTO equal to its economic weight.

Australia called on China to forgo its access to special and differential treatment, granted when it joined the WTO 20 years ago, and said China’s practices were increasingly inconsistent with its countries. WTO commitments, according to trade sources.

On this sensitive issue, Chinese Wang said: “In accordance with the principle of balance of rights and obligations, China is ready to approach special and differential treatment with pragmatism and to make a greater contribution in the WTO. to the extent of its capabilities “.

Japan expressed concern about the lack of transparency and urged China to tackle the issues of trade-distorting measures and state-owned enterprises, trade sources said.

India said bilateral trade was skewed in favor of China, with a growing deficit, the largest it has with any country. India was seeking to engage the Chinese authorities on the serious efforts that are needed, he said.

Report by Stéphanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Matthew Lewis and Andrea Ricci

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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