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

 

ACC: Budget not enough to fight graft

13 hours ago | Economics

CATHERINE SASMAN The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) says the N$61.6 million budget proposed for its operations is woefully inadequate.The...

E-tax rollout postponed again

13 hours ago | Economics

The finance ministry introduced a new electronic income-tax filing system in January, but deadlines are repeatedly being postponed.The date when the new system must become...

Anger at poor public services 25 years into SA...

13 hours ago | Economics

Susan Njanji - Inside the conical brick tower looming over Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto, Busi Hlatshwayo thoughtfully studies 10 giant bronze slabs announcing...

Inflation nightmare returns to haunt Zimbabwe

13 hours ago | Economics

Fanuel Jongwe - The price of bread almost doubled for Zimbabweans last week, as the inflation nightmare that marked the rule of long-time authoritarian leader...

Chinese N$10bn loan still on the table

1 day - 23 April 2019 | Economics

OGONE TLHAGE The Namibian government is under no obligation to take up any loan offered to as part of a memorandum of...

China 'taking advantage' of Nam

1 day - 23 April 2019 | Economics

The minister of international relations and cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, recently advised a hall full of young Namibians to familiarise themselves with the content and implications...

BoN expects economic growth of 0.3%

1 week ago - 15 April 2019 | Economics

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) expects the economy to grow by 0.3% this year, according to its latest Economic Outlook released today.The Namibian economy was...

Recession butchers jobs

2 weeks ago - 10 April 2019 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – From 2016 to 2018, Namibia’s total population increased by 3.8%, its population of working age expanded by 3.6%, the economically active population...

On tax-free allowances and inequality

2 weeks ago - 10 April 2019 | Economics

Sometimes, well-meant interventions have unintended consequences.One case in point are tax-free allowances, such as tax-free housing allowances, tax-free car allowances, tax-free pension fund contributions, etc....

Sub-Saharan economic growth recovery to take longer

2 weeks ago - 10 April 2019 | Economics

Omar Mohammed - The World Bank has cut its growth forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa this year to 2.8% from an initial 3.3%.The commodity price slump...

Latest News

Anger grows over killing

13 hours ago | Crime

The secretary-general of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Job Muniaro, has issued a stern warning to Chinese businesspeople to “shape up or ship...

Warning of dire food shortages

13 hours ago | Disasters

The latest Crop Prospects, Food Security and Drought Situation Report has predicted massive reductions for all crop-producing areas in the expected harvest season, including cereal...

Solving your challenges with remuneration

13 hours ago | Business

We live in an environment of continued cost-constraints, skills shortage and labour mobility. At the same time, there is pressure to improve productivity, and improve...

ACC: Budget not enough to...

13 hours ago | Economics

CATHERINE SASMAN The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) says the N$61.6 million budget proposed for its operations is woefully inadequate.The...

Do good for others

13 hours ago | Opinion

Human rights are needed to protect and preserve every individual's humanity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is clear in highlighting the basic rights and...

Auto giants battle used car...

13 hours ago | Business

Joe Bavier, Emma Rumney and Duncan Miriri - At the edge of Nairobi's Ngong Forest, thousands of used cars glitter in the hot sun on...

Violent Easter weekend

13 hours ago | Crime

The four-day Easter weekend was marred by a spate of violent crimes including a dozen reported sexual assaults and armed robberies, in addition to a...

Watch your mouth

13 hours ago | Politics

Only half of Namibians believe that they have the right of freedom of association, says an Afrobarometer policy paper titled 'Are Africans' freedoms slipping away?'...

E-tax rollout postponed again

13 hours ago | Economics

The finance ministry introduced a new electronic income-tax filing system in January, but deadlines are repeatedly being postponed.The date when the new system must become...

Load More