Bush administration keeps pressure on China’s WTO commitments
Bush administration officials told lawmakers this week that they will continue to keep the pressure on the Chinese government to meet its obligations under the World Trade Organization.
China’s slow pace to emerge into a market economy causes an “enormous amount” of damage to U.S.-China relations, James J. Jochum, assistant secretary of Commerce’s Import Administration, said in testimony to a Senate Government Affairs Subcommittee Tuesday.
“The Commerce Department is fully committed to ensuring that China complies with WTO rules, open markets, drop barriers, eliminate state subsidies and allow market forces to determine economic decisions,” Jochum said.
Of its total world trade, the United States has the largest trade deficit with China. The deficit was $103 billion in 2002 and reached $65 billion in the first seven months of 2003.
China joined the WTO in December 2001. China has changed laws and regulations, created transparency procedures for many agencies, reduced tariffs, and started the process of removing market access barriers, another Bush administration said.
“Over the past 22 months, China has taken many positive and sometimes difficult steps to meet its WTO commitments,” said Charles W. Freeman III, deputy assistant to the U.S. Trade Representative to the Senate subcommittee.
Freeman, however, said the Chinese government has attempted to restrict certain agricultural imports, but it has been a “recurring problem.” These trade-restricting practices include China’s use of “questionable” food safety standards, such as with soybeans and licensing procedures and high tariff rate quotas for U.S. exports of wheat, corn and cotton, Freeman said.