U.S. Report: China Falls Short On WTO Commitments

By John S. McClenahen U.S.-China trade has grown a stunning 21.5 times between 1986, when China began to negotiate membership in the GATT (the World Trade Organization's predecessor body), and this year. But as bilateral trade has risen from $7.9 billion 17 years ago to an estimated $170 billion this year, and the trade balance has shifted from a $1.7 billion surplus to an expected $125 billion U.S. deficit, problems have intensified, particularly since China's accession to the WTO on Dec. 11, 2001. In a Dec. 11 report to Congress, U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick's office asserts "unlike last year, China's uneven and incomplete WTO compliance record can no longer be attributed to start-up problems." Among the situations affecting U.S. manufacturers and specifically criticized in the report are "pervasive" intellectual property rights problems relating to "the widespread production, distribution, and end-use of counterfeit and pirated products, brands and technologies." Also singled out for criticism is China's policy of giving value-added tax rebates to domestic semiconductor producers, which the report contends puts U.S. chip exporters at a disadvantage and "raises serious WTO concerns."

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