13 October 2011 15:51 [Source: ICIS news]
By Joe Kamalick
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The White House has opened yet another front in the escalating US clash with ?xml:namespace>
US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk filed a lengthy complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), charging that China has failed to live up to its trading transparency requirements under the WTO by failing to disclose nearly 200 subsidy programmes that Beijing and provincial governments provide to Chinese manufacturers and exporters.
Kirk said the
“Every member of the WTO is required to come clean on its subsidy programmes on a regular basis,” Kirk said, but “
Under World Trade Organization rules, each member nation is supposed to notify WTO of its trade and other commercial subsidies on a regular basis.
That information would then be available to other WTO member nations for evaluation and possible complaint to the global trade organisation if a given nation’s subsidies are considered illegal under the rules.
“The notification obligation is particularly significant for members like
Far from meeting its WTO obligations for periodic notification of its subsidies, said Kirk, since becoming a WTO member nation in 2001,
“That notification took place more than five years ago and was noticeably incomplete,” Kirk said, adding that
Kirk said that the
“The lack of transparency severely constrains the ability of WTO members to ensure that each government is playing by the rules,” Kirk said, and “it is past time for
“It is simply not acceptable” that
In its lengthy submission to the WTO, the
Many of the subsidies identified by the
In addition, said the USTR, multiple subsidies are being maintained by both the central government in
Other subsidies among the nearly 200 listed by the USTR were for development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for export trade.
The charges put before the WTO note that in consultations between the
Chinese companies also benefit from preferential income tax waivers and government forgiveness of tax arrears, exemption from real estate taxes, and
Among the many alleged subsidies were those made by
The timing of the USTR’s complaint to the WTO about
It comes just days after several other salvos were launched toward Beijing by irate members of Congress, alleging trade cheating and an “intolerable level” of Chinese industrial spying and technology theft against the US.
The complaint to the WTO over Chinese subsidies that the US has publicly ignored for five years or more also comes as new public opinion polling shows that a solid majority of Americans see China as a long-term threat, and with one in four Americans seeing the Middle Kingdom as an outright enemy.
At a USTR hearing last week where multiple US industries and companies aired their grievances against Beijing, Claire Reade, assistant US trade representative for China affairs, noted that “significant questions had arisen regarding China’s actions” in the context of its WTO obligations.
“Issues of particular concern arose in a range of areas,” Reade said, “including intellectual property rights, industrial policies, trading rights and distribution services, agriculture, services and transparency.”
“Often, we traced these problems to
“This year’s written submissions underscore that concerns remain about
As the White House and USTR targeted
The bill would require the US Treasury Department to report annually on misaligned or undervalued currencies, and it would mandate retaliatory action by the White House against nations that fail to correct their monetary manipulations.
In addition to the annual review and report by Treasury, the bill would allow US companies to bring a formal complaint before the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to allege currency manipulation by a foreign country.
If the agencies’ investigation confirmed the company’s allegations, the Commerce Department could impose countervailing duties against selected imports from the offending nation.
The bill faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives. While it is popular among both Republicans and Democrats (a similar bill was passed in 2010), the House Republican leadership is opposed to it and may keep the bill from coming up for a full House vote.
But the number and variety of frontal attacks on
Equally or perhaps even more significant is the fact that the White House in particular has decided to advance these charges against Beijing in a highly public fashion, waving the get-tough flag after basically ignoring the subsidies issue.
It could signal a sea-change in
($1 = €0.72)
Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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