USTR Releases 2015 Report to Congress on China’s WTO Compliance
The report is statutorily mandated by Congress and highlights the status of China’s policies and practices in the areas of trade and investment.
Since China acceded to the WTO fourteen years ago and began implementing the numerous commitments that it made, the data confirm a dramatic expansion in trade and investment among China and its many trading partners, including the United States, the report notes.
U.S. exports of goods to China totaled $124 billion in 2014, representing an increase of 545 percent since 2001 and positioning China as the United States’ largest goods export market outside of North America.
U.S. services exports reached $43 billion in 2014, representing an increase of 733 percent since 2001. Services supplied through majority U.S.-invested companies in China also have been increasing dramatically, totaling an additional $43 billion in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.
The report describes the various ways the administration is working to hold China to their WTO commitments, including in key areas like intellectual property rights enforcement and the protection of trade secrets; China’s industrial policies and support for state-owned enterprises; services; agricultural policies; and transparency.
Despite the positive results outlined in the report, “the overall picture currently presented by China’s WTO membership remains complex,” the report concluded. “Many of the problems that arise in the U.S.-China trade and investment relationship can be traced to the Chinese government’s interventionist policies and practices and the large role of state-owned enterprises…in China’s economy, which continue to generate significant trade distortions that inevitably give rise to trade frictions.”
At the same time, the report found that China’s current leadership has begun to pursue further economic reform in China. “If pursued appropriately,” the report says, “this reform effort offers the potential for addressing these problems and for helping to realize the tremendous potential of the U.S.-China trade and investment relationship.”
Looking ahead, the report commits the U.S. in 2016 to continue to pursue increased benefits from trade and economic ties with China. The administration will use all available tools to achieve these objectives, says the report, including the pursuit of outcome-oriented dialogue in both bilateral and multilateral settings, as well as the vigorous use of enforcement mechanisms, where appropriate.