The Straits Times
Published on Sep 01, 2012

China won't challenge WTO ruling in US bank card row


GENEVA/WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States (US) welcomed China's decision on Friday not to appeal a trade panel ruling that Beijing discriminated against US bank card suppliers such as Mastercard and Visa in favour of a state-owned enterprise, China UnionPay.

"Fair and open financial services markets are critical to facilitating global trade," US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement, noting that China now had 30 days to say how it would comply with the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) July 16 ruling.

The US case accused China of imposing a series of measures dating back to 2001 that discriminated against foreign suppliers of electronic payment systems that allow consumers to make purchases using credit, debit, prepaid and other payment cards.

More than US$1 trillion (S$1.25 trillion) worth of electronic payment card transactions are processed in China each year, making it a hugely attractive market for US electronic payment services firms such as Visa and MasterCard.