US-China trade war

China calls US ‘destroyer’ of global trading system at WTO


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China calls US ‘destroyer’ of global trading system at WTO

TRADE. Chinese Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Li Chenggang gestures during an interview with Reuters in Geneva, Switzerland, July 15, 2021.

Denis Balibouse/Reuters

China's Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Li Chenggang claims the United States disregards WTO rules and concerns of other members

GENEVA, Switzerland – China accused Washington on Wednesday, December 14, of using subsidies to prop up national industries and refusing to abide by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

China’s Ambassador to the WTO Li Chenggang said in a speech that he was disappointed in the US trading record, saying it had not lived up to President Joe Biden‘s inaugural pledge to lead “by the power of our example.”

“The United States puts ‘America First’ by prevailing its domestic laws over international rules and [the] laws of others, disregarding WTO rules and concerns of other members,” he told a closed-door US trade policy review at the Geneva-based WTO.

“Clearly, the United States is a destroyer to the multilateral trading system,” he added, according to the text of his speech which was released in English by China’s WTO delegation.

The US ambassador to the WTO, Maria Pagán, defended US policies, saying it was one of the most open and competitive economies in the world with some of the lowest tariffs. “For many decades, the United States has led by maintaining a fundamentally open economy,” she said.

The US trade policy review occurs every few years and allows members of the 164-member body to give feedback on Washington’s track record.

China’s remarks came days after it filed a WTO trade complaint against US curbs on chip exports.

The United States has previously said China’s industrial policies were skewed against imported goods and services. It has also called on the world’s second largest economy to carry out further liberalization and open its vast markets.

The WTO’s system for settling global trade disputes has been only partially functional since December 2019 when Washington’s repeated blockage of judge appointments under former president Donald Trump paralyzed its top court. That means that any member, including the United States, can and has appealed decisions made by a lower court into a legal limbo.

Ambassador Li called Washington a “capricious rule-breaker” for not implementing rulings. The US has repeatedly criticized the WTO dispute settlement system for overreach and is currently leading a consultation process with members on how to reform it. –

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