China’s WTO efforts not enough


WASHINGTON – The Office of the U.S. Trade Relations has “found a number of causes for serious concern during China’s first year of WTO membership.”

Deputy Assistant USTR Charles Freeman told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee March 19 that while “China took positive steps to implement many of its specific WTO commitments during the past year.”

The lack of transparency in China, however, is an “area of cross-cutting concern.”

Some positives. In particular, the USTR report praised the Chinese government’s focus on making the country’s laws and regulations WTO-compliant.

Freeman also noted that China has continually “devoted considerable resources to the restructuring of the various government ministries and agencies with a role in overseeing trade in goods and services.”

With regard to transparency, however, Freeman said the Bush administration “found China’s overall effort to be plagued by uncertainty and a lack of uniformity.”

Ag sector worrisome. Freeman said the report also found “significant problems” with Chinese agricultural, intellectual property rights, and service trade sectors.

The “most troublesome” agricultural issue, according to the report, was China’s “inadequate implementation” of its tariff-rate quota commitments for bulk agricultural commodities.

“The lack of effective IPR enforcement remained a major challenge,” Freeman said of the report’s findings.

“If significant improvements are to be achieved on this front, China will have to devote considerable resources and political will to this problem,” he added.

Freeman added concerns arose in many services sectors, principally “due to transparency problems and China’s use of prudential requirements that exceeded international norms.”

“Progress was made in 2002 toward resolving these (service sector) concerns, but much work remains to be done,” he added.


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