USTR: China and Russia Are Not Living Up to WTO Commitments - Global Trade Magazine
  January 23rd, 2018 | Written by

USTR: China and Russia Are Not Living Up to WTO Commitments

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  • USTR: China and Russia have failed to embrace the market-oriented economic policies championed by the WTO.
  • USTR: The global trading system is threatened by major economies who do not intend to open their markets.
  • USTR: China limits market access for imported goods and services and foreign manufacturers and service suppliers.

China and Russia have failed to embrace the market-oriented  economic policies championed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and are not living up to certain key commitments they made when they joined the WTO.

Those were the conclusions of the US Trade Representative said in annual reports released yesterday on each country’s compliance with WTO rules.

The reports, delivered to Congress, are required by law and assess China’s and Russia’s implementation of their respective WTO commitments.  China became a member of the WTO in 2001 and Russia joined the WTO in 2012.

“The United States is committed to working with all WTO Members who share our goal of using the WTO to create and enforce rules that lead to more efficient markets, reciprocal benefits and greater wealth for our citizens,” said Ambassador Robert Lighthizer.  “However, as these two reports show, the global trading system is threatened by major economies who do not intend to open their markets to trade and participate fairly.  This practice is incompatible with the market-based approach expressly envisioned by WTO members and contrary to the fundamental principles of the WTO.”

The report on China’s WTO compliance found that the Chinese government pursues an array of interventionist policies aimed at limiting market access for imported goods and services and foreign manufacturers and service suppliers. China’s regulatory authorities “require or pressure foreign companies to transfer technology as a condition for securing investment or other approvals.”

China maintains the state’s leading role in the economy and pursues industrial policies that support domestic industries and impede their foreign counterparts.

The report on Russia’s WTO compliance found that “Russia’s actions strongly indicate that it has no intention of complying with many of the promises it made to the United States and other WTO members.” The country “has done little…to demonstrate a commitment to the principles of the WTO or to many of the specific commitments that it made” in the negotiations leading to Russia’s membership in the WTO. The agricultural sector is one of the most challenging sectors for US exporters.

“In 2017,” the report concluded, “Russia increasingly appeared to turn away from the principles of the WTO, instead turning inward through the adoption of local content policies and practices.  Russia continued to rely on arbitrary behind-the-border measures and other discriminatory practices to exclude US exports.”