GENEVA—The United States said on Wednesday that China’s industrial policies “skew the playing field” against imported goods and services, as well as their foreign providers, and that Washington would pursue all means to secure reforms.
In addition to industrial subsidies, other “unfair trade practices” include preferential treatment for state enterprises, data restrictions, inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights, and cyber theft, U.S. charge d’affaires David Bisbee told the World Trade Organization (WTO).
He was addressing a closed-door WTO meeting, which continues on Friday, to conduct the watchdog’s first review of the Chinese regime’s trade policy since 2018.
Both the United States and Canada denounced alleged “economic coercion” by China against other WTO member states who speak out against its practices.
“We also cannot ignore reports of China’s use of forced labour in several sectors,” Bisbee said, in an apparent reference to activists’ allegations regarding ethnic Uyghurs held in detention in Xinjiang, a charge that Beijing denies.
The United States would pursue all available tools to try to persuade China to make needed changes, he added in remarks made available by the U.S. trade delegation in Geneva.
Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, who led its 20-member delegation, told the meeting: “Since the last review, China has stayed committed to deepening reform, expanding, opening up, and growing its open economy at a higher level.”
The EU said that the degree to which China has reformed and opened is not commensurate with its weight in the global economy, or comparable to the access its goods have to the markets of other WTO members. It urged the Chinese regime to adopt further market reforms and play a role in the WTO equal to its economic weight.
India said that bilateral trade was skewed in favor of China, with a growing deficit, the single largest it has with any country. India was seeking to engage Chinese authorities about serious efforts that are required, it said.