GENVE, Oct. 20 (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday that China’s industrial policy “warps the playing field” on imported goods and services, as well as their foreign suppliers, and that Washington would pursue all means to bring about reforms.
China’s other major trading partners — including Australia, Britain, Canada and the European Union — also called for the world’s second-largest economy to further liberalize and open up its vast markets, trade sources said.
In addition to industrial subsidies, other “unfair business practices” include preferential treatment for state-owned companies, data restrictions, inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights and cyber theft, US chargé d’affaires David Bisbee told the World Trade Organization.
He addressed a closed WTO meeting, which continues Friday, to conduct the watchdog’s first review of China’s trade policy since 2018.
Both the United States and Canada denounced China’s alleged “economic coercion” against other WTO member states that speak out against its practices.
“We also cannot ignore reports of China’s use of forced labor in various sectors,” Bisbee said, in clear reference to activists’ allegations of ethnic Uyghurs detained in Xinjiang, a charge Beijing denies.
The United States would use all available means to convince China to make the necessary changes, he added in comments made available by the US trade delegation in Geneva.
China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, who led the 20-member delegation, told the meeting: “Since the last review, China has been committed to deepening reforms, expanding, opening up and taking its open economy to a higher level.” to grow.”
“China has strengthened intellectual property protection through legislative, administrative and judicial means and is meeting its transparency obligations,” he said.
Other WTO members urged China to continue reforms to achieve fairer market competition and transparency, trade sources said.
The EU said the extent to which China has reformed and opened up is disproportionate to its weight in the global economy, or comparable to the access its goods have to the markets of other WTO members. It urged China to implement further market reforms and play a role in the WTO that matched its economic weight.
Australia called on China to relinquish its access to special and differential treatment granted when it joined the WTO 20 years ago, saying China’s practices are increasingly inconsistent with its WTO obligations, according to trade sources.
On the sensitive issue, Wang of China said: “In accordance with the principle of balanced rights and duties, China is willing to approach special and differentiated treatment with pragmatism and make a greater contribution within the WTO consistent with its capacity.”
Japan expressed concern about a lack of transparency and urged China to address 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 tried to involve the Chinese authorities in serious efforts that are needed, it said.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Matthew Lewis and Andrea Ricci
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