U.S. opposition to granting China market economy status disregards WTO rules

by Zhu Junqing

BEIJING, Dec. 4-- The U.S. opposition to recognizing China as a market economy within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is in reckless disregard of the relevant WTO rules, and is intended to make an excuse for its trade protectionism by misleading the public.

By submitting a statement of opposition to the WTO as a third-party brief in support of the European Unionin a case brought by China, the United Statestried to mix the concepts of the surrogate country approach and market economy status to mislead the public for its selfish interests.

Last year, China filed a WTO dispute case over surrogate country approach, arguing the approach should be dropped after the expiration date on Dec. 11, 2016 in accordance with Article 15 of the accession protocol.

In fact, the case has nothing to do with whether China has been granted market economy status or not, as there are no standards in the WTO rules for the status.

As Liang Guoyong, economic affairs officer at the Investment and Enterprise Division of United NationsConference on Trade and Development, said, the case is about "surrogate country approach," not "market economy status," which means the former is within multilateral trade rules, while the latter is regarded as a domestic law issue.

The practice to mix the two things together, he said, apparently contradicts multilateral trade rules and also breaks some countries' international commitments and promises.

Furthermore, it is clear that such behavior is a U.S. planned attempt to protect its trade with China and a part of its efforts to contain China's rise.

According to the General Administration of Customs, China's exports to the United States in the first three quarters increased 18.7 percent over the same period of 2016, and China's trade surplus with the United States in the first 10 month expanded 7.3 percent to reach 225 billion U.S. dollars.

The robust growth in China's exports to the United States and the appreciable trade surplus could be a catalyst for the U.S. administration to maintain a tough stance on China.

Such behavior is just reminiscent of the domestic laws of certain WTO members in the Cold War era, and the refusal would put trade ties with China at risk.

On the other hand, China has established and continuously improved its market economy system, which has earned worldwide recognition. So far, more than 80 economies have recognized China as a market economy.

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]
 

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