China Must Do More To Meet WTO Commitments: U.S. Chamber Says

By Agence France-Presse China must make more progress in meeting market-opening terms of its entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Sept. 16. In a new report, issued at a time of rising political criticism of China's currency and trade policies in the United States, the Chamber complimented China, however, on taking initial steps to comply with its obligations. And it praised Beijing for not using the damaging SARS outbreak or generational changes in the leadership of the Communist Party, as an excuse to slow compliance to WTO obligations. "Expectations in the business community are rising, and this report clearly shows that China must do more to meet those expectations," said Myron Brilliant, vice president of the Chamber's Asia operations. The Chamber warned that China's WTO compliance had been "uneven and incomplete," and unless it improved, there would be an "increasing crescendo" of complaints about Beijing's record. China had met mixed results in reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers in agriculture, according to the report, "China's WTO Record: A Two-year Assessment." In the auto market, China has largely met commitments to lower tariffs but has fallen short of fully meeting obligations, particularly in terms of auto financing, the Chamber said. China had made considerable progress toward openness in financial services, the report said, noting that some reforms in the field went beyond WTO commitments. A continually thorny issue between the United States and China has been the enforcement of intellectual property rights and a crackdown on piracy, and the Chamber report warned that it remained a major problem. Counterfeiting hits hard at profits of foreign firms in China, owing to the high quality of copies of their goods. Telecommunications was also a sector of concern, and the report warned that China's Ministry of Information Industries classification of value-added services had become "more restrictive and rigid" since China joined the WTO two years ago. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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