Negotiating new WTO rules to rein in China futile

06 February 2019 | Economics

China retains its non-market economic structure and its state-led, mercantilist approach to trade, to the detriment of its trading partners. – US Trade Representative

David Lawder - Negotiating new World Trade Organisation rules to try to rein in China's "mercantalist" trade practices would be largely a futile exercise, the Trump administration's trade office said on Monday, vowing to pursue its unilateral approach to protect US workers, farmers and businesses.

In an annual report to Congress on China's WTO compliance, the US Trade Representative's office said it would be "unrealistic to expect success in any negotiation of new WTO rules that would restrict China's current approach to the economy and trade in a meaningful way".

The report shed little light on any progress made in bilateral talks between the United States and China. The discussions are swiftly approaching a March 2 deadline when the United States has said it will ratchet up tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, lifting them to 25% from 10%.

Some US allies, including Japan, Canada and the European Union, have begun discussions on the first potential changes and modernisation of WTO rules since the organisation's founding in 1995.

But any WTO rule changes must be agreed on by all of the trade body's 164 member countries, and past efforts have stalled. USTR said it was "highly unlikely" that China would agree to new disciplines targeting changes to its trade practices and economic system.

Chinese officials met with US counterparts in Washington last week for two days of discussions to address US concerns over China's trade and business practices. Those include key structural issues on forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, market access and intellectual property rights.

The talks showed signs of progress, with US president Donald Trump saying he would meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping. The two countries have been engaged in a tit-for-tat tariff battle since the middle of 2018, when Washington slapped duties on Chinese goods. Those were met with retaliation from Beijing. The escalating dispute has cost both countries billions of dollars and roiled global financial markets.

The two presidents agreed to a 90-day ceasefire when they met in Buenos Aires in late November. It is less than a month away from that deadline.

‘Holding China accountable’

USTR said the United States intends to "hold China accountable" for adhering to existing WTO rules and "any unfair and market-distorting trade practices that hurt US workers, businesses, farmers or ranchers".

"Until China transforms its approach to the economy and trade, the United States will take all appropriate actions to ensure that the costs of China’s non-market economic system are borne by China, not by the United States," USTR said.

The agency reiterated in its report the broad array of concerns it had over key structural issues in China. Those include China's 2025 plan to boost key domestic sectors and its failure to adhere to the market-oriented principles expected of WTO members, the report said.

"China retains its non-market economic structure and its state-led, mercantilist approach to trade, to the detriment of its trading partners," it said. – Nampa/Reuters

Similar News

 

Xi’s bad year clouds China's celebrations

21 hours ago | Economics

Helen Roxburgh - It was meant to be an unabashed celebration of the triumph of Communism in China, and of president Xi Jinping's authority as...

Solar-irrigated farms face hungry elephants

21 hours ago | Economics

Lungelo Ndhlovu - When one of Zimbabwe's first solar mini-grid systems was installed in this drought-prone village near the Botswana border in 2016, residents thought...

SA inflation dips as growth slows

21 hours ago | Economics

South Africa's inflation last month dipped to 4.0%, its lowest level since January, the statistics agency said yesterday. In June, inflation was 4.5%.The decline was...

Water pollution an 'invisible threat' to global goals

21 hours ago | Economics

Kim Harrisberg – Water pollution threatens nearly all the globally agreed development goals to end environmental destruction, poverty and suffering by 2030, economists warned in...

'Insolvent' NBC wants bigger bailout

1 day - 21 August 2019 | Economics

The NBC needs N$313.2 million and N$4 million respectively from government to pay its outstanding liability in the form of post-medical aid benefits and severance...

Ghana cashes in on slave heritage tourism

1 day - 21 August 2019 | Economics

Alessandra Prentice and Siphiwe Sibeko - In a clearing at the turnoff to Assin Manso, a billboard depicts two African slaves in loincloths, their arms...

Recognising traditional authorities ‘costly’

1 day - 21 August 2019 | Economics

GOBABIS - President Hage Geingob said the constant applications for the recognition of traditional authorities is financially unsustainable for government and causes tribal division.Speaking at...

Africa Briefs

1 day - 21 August 2019 | Economics

SA: No 'big bang' approach to nuclearSouth Africa will not adopt a "big bang" approach to building new nuclear power capacity but instead add capacity...

US economists expect recession in 2020 or 2021

1 day - 21 August 2019 | Economics

Washington - A majority of economists expect a US recession in the next two years, but have pushed back the onset amid Federal Reserve actions.A...

White House mulling tax cut

1 day - 21 August 2019 | Economics

Washington - The White House is considering cutting taxes or reversing tariffs to head off a recession, US media reported yesterday, despite president Donald Trump's...

Latest News

Power cut at education offices

21 hours ago | Energy

The Ohangwena education directorate's offices at Eenhana have been left without electricity, after Nored cut the power due to non-payment on Tuesday.According to sources, the...

N$600m down the drain

21 hours ago | Justice

Any hopes of Namibia recovering the over N$600 million lost in the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) scandal have been dashed. Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa confirmed...

Solar-irrigated farms face hungry elephants

21 hours ago | Economics

Lungelo Ndhlovu - When one of Zimbabwe's first solar mini-grid systems was installed in this drought-prone village near the Botswana border in 2016, residents thought...

Infighting hinders progress

21 hours ago | Columns

Our traditional leaders, with all due respect, have been hogging the headlines for some time now, and mostly for the wrong reasons. Unnecessary infighting among...

First vegan investment fund coming...

21 hours ago | Business

Sebastien Malo – An investment fund designed for animal rights advocates and environmentalists, the first of its kind according to financial experts, is set to...

SA inflation dips as growth...

21 hours ago | Economics

South Africa's inflation last month dipped to 4.0%, its lowest level since January, the statistics agency said yesterday. In June, inflation was 4.5%.The decline was...

OATF attracts 25 international exhibitors

21 hours ago | Business

ONGWEDIVA – The 2019 Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF), which starts tomorrow, has attracted 451 exhibitors, 5.5% of which are international.A total of 450 exhibitors...

Water pollution an 'invisible threat'...

21 hours ago | Economics

Kim Harrisberg – Water pollution threatens nearly all the globally agreed development goals to end environmental destruction, poverty and suffering by 2030, economists warned in...

Companies fail on health, safety

21 hours ago | Health

The majority of companies inspected by the labour ministry in the first quarter of this year were not in compliance with occupational health and safety...

Load More