The United States’ allegations that China’s policies and practices violate market principles and would lead to unfair competition are groundless and inconsistent with international economic and trade rules, according to Chinese officials and experts. They made the remarks after the US Trade Representative’s office released its annual assessment report on China’s compliance with World Trade Organization rules on Wednesday.
The report said the US needs to pursue new strategies and update its domestic trade tools to deal with China’s so-called State-led, non-market policies and practices.
Gao Feng, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said, “Globally, there are all sorts of different patterns of market-based economies. China’s economic achievements in the past 40 years are due to its successful reform and opening-up policy, and also to the effective combination of functions of the market mechanisms and the government, which are valuable experiences for Chinese economic growth.”
“We believe that, as a member of the World Trade Organization, the US is obliged to ensure that its trade tools abide by WTO rules, instead of creating a new set under the name of pursuing new strategies to, as a matter of fact, practice unilateralism, protectionism and bullying,” he said during an online media briefing on Thursday.
According to Zheng Lei, chief economist at Glory Sun Financial Group, China is entitled to choose development paths that conform with conditions at different development phases, as long as it keeps its promises and observes free trade agreements it has signed.
Protective measures and mercantilist practices designed to maximize exports and minimize imports were common in the US and many other countries at the early stage of the market economy, and many governments often interfered with import and export activity to protect domestic industries and enterprises, he said, adding that, on the contrary, it is widely agreed that China has completely fulfilled its WTO accession commitments. “China and the US are at different development stages, and it is natural that they have different economic development approaches,” Zheng said, adding the US could seek modifications to WTO rules, other than creating a new set of trade tools unilaterally based on its labeling on China.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the unilateral trade practices the US plans to pursue will damage consensus under the WTO framework, and threaten the global economic recovery and international cooperation, which continue to suffer due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gao said China is willing to carry out reforms to fully meet the rules and standards of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade pact covering 11 Asia-Pacific economies that China applied to join last year.