'No basis': Beijing dismisses US' WTO criticism

China said criticism from the US had "no basis in international economic and trade rules". PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - Beijing on Thursday (Feb 17) dismissed the United States' assessment of China's World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership, saying its criticism had "no basis in international economic and trade rules".

The commerce ministry's retort came a day after Washington said China, 20 years after its accession, had not adopted the rules of the WTO, retaining and expanding its state-led approach, to the detriment of businesses and workers globally.

The annual report to Congress by the office of the US Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai, also said China had a "long history of violating, disregarding and circumventing WTO rules to achieve its industrial policy objectives".

Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng noted that the US labelled China as non-market-oriented, but added that "these remarks have no basis according to international economic and trade rules, and are completely inconsistent with the facts".

He also urged the US to ensure its trade tools "comply with WTO rules instead of waging unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying in the name of seeking a new strategy".

Mr Gao said China hoped the US would "adopt rational and pragmatic economic and trade policies toward China".

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the WTO works to enforce rules governing international trade, including promoting fair competition and open trade.

When it joined in December 2001, Beijing said it would embrace those principles, Ms Tai said. But she added that China has since widened its state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade.

The US has long denounced Chinese practices such as its subsidies for public companies, and Beijing is also accused of stealing intellectual property and forcibly transferring know-how and technology from foreign companies in exchange for market access.

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