US, EU and Japan up the pressure on China at WTO

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


The United States, European Union and Japan jointly rounded on China's "market-distorting subsidies" at the World Trade Organization conference in Argentina Tuesday.

A joint statement from the three powers made no direct mention of China, but said "severe excess capacity in key sectors, exacerbated by government-financed and supported capacity expansion, unfair competitive conditions caused by large market-distorting subsidies and state-owned enterprises" were serious problems for international trade.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem, Japan's trade minister Hiroshige Seko and US representative Robert Lighthizer agreed to strengthen their committment to "ensure a global level playing field."

They said they would work "to eliminate these and other unfair market distorting and protectionist practices."

The US and EU are strongly opposed to China's demand to be seen as a "market economy" by the WTO. Such recognition would entitle China to preferential economic treatment under WTO rules, and remove competitors' special recourse to levy anti-dumping duties on China if it sells goods at unfairly low prices abroad.