US says China is backing away from free-trade commitments

US China Trade
Posted at 12:02 PM, Feb 16, 2022

The United States has accused China of failing to meet its commitments to the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. says it will explore new ways to combat aggressive Chinese trade practices. In its annual report on Chinese compliance with WTO rules Wednesday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says China isn't keeping the promises it made to open its markets to foreign competition when it joined the 164-country Geneva-based agency in 2001.

Among other things, the United States repeated longstanding accusations that China uses subsidies and regulations to favor its own companies at the expense of foreign competitors.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, “China has instead retained and expanded its state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade.” Tai said, “China’s policies and practices challenge the premise of the WTO’s rules and cause serious harm to workers and businesses around the world.’’

In the report, the U.S. said, “China’s leadership appears confident in its state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade and feels no need to conform to global norms.”

The U.S. and China reached what was called a Phase 1 trade agreement in January 2020. In it, China agreed to increase purchases of U.S. farm exports. But, according to a report from the Peterson Institute of International Trade, China is said to have only purchased 57% of the U.S. exports it committed to purchasing, the Associated Press reported.