US ambassador Dennis Shea told a World Trade Organisation meeting that China's unfair trade policies are too big for the WTO to handle.
Washington is threatening 10 per cent
tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods. In response, Beijing accused
the United States of bullying and said it would complain to the WTO,
"Given China's very large and growing role in international trade, and
the serious harm that China's state-led, mercantilist approach to trade
and investment causes to China's trading partners, this reckoning can no
longer be put off," said Mr Shea.
"It is clear, moreover, that the WTO currently does not offer all of the
tools necessary to remedy this situation," Mr Shea told the two-yearly
WTO review of China's trade policies.
Under President Donald Trump, the US has called for that the WTO's
dispute system to be changed to prevent the United States from receiving
what he regards as an "unfair deal".
To back up his demands, Mr Trump has blocked appointments to the WTO's
appeals chamber to replace judges as their terms expire. Unless he
relents, the world's trade dispute system will be unable to operate by
the end of 2019 or sooner.
Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen defended China's record at the
meeting and acknowledged the severe challenges facing the WTO, according
to a Geneva trade official.
Speaking before Mr Shea, he called on all WTO members to stand up to
bullying, protectionism and unilateralism, and urged them to tackle the
systemic threats posed by Mr Trump's tariffs on steel, aluminum and
cars, as well as his tariffs directed solely at China.
Mr Shea said the Chinese state's role in the economy had increased. He
said foreign firms doing business in China or competing with Chinese
rivals faced deeper and broader obstacles, and added that Beijing was
providing "massive, market-distorting subsidies" and "skewing the
playing field... in a myriad of ways."
The WTO's dispute system focused narrowly on specific policies and could
not deal with a broader situation where state-led policies prevailed
over market forces. New WTO rules were unlikely to be negotiated to deal
with the situation and would in any case take too long.