China says ‘profound crisis’ facing WTO, urges WTO to ensure fairness
- Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said the WTO should prioritize resolving a deadlock in appointments to its Appellate Body, which have been blocked by the United States.
- He also took aim at what he called “excessive” agriculture subsidies enjoyed exclusively by developed countries.
China said on Friday the World Trade Organization (WTO) is having a “profound crisis” and urged it to close loopholes and correct practices by member states that damage the global trading system.
Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said the WTO should prioritize resolving a deadlock in appointments to its Appellate Body, which have been blocked by the United States which blames the dispute settlement body’s judges for hampering a U.S. campaign against what it sees as unfair trade practices.
“The WTO should prioritize key issues that threaten the institution’s existence,” Wang told a news conference in Beijing.
The reforms should uphold core WTO values, ensure fairness and protect developing countries’ interests, Wang said.
He also took aim at what he called “excessive” agriculture subsidies enjoyed exclusively by developed countries.
“China opposes some countries’ exploitation of loopholes in the existing system to realize their protectionist goals,” he said, without naming any countries.
Wang said agriculture subsides had distorted prices and were unfair to developing nations.
Wang said China opposed using WTO reform as a way to deprive China of the right to enjoy differentiated treatment as a developing country, adding China’s development model should not be questioned.
Ideas about reforming the WTO have been largely driven by U.S. complaints that it has failed to police suspected Chinese rule-breaking, with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening a withdrawal to protect American interests.
The United States wants the WTO to crack down on China’s subsidies for state-backed enterprises, overcapacity in steel and other basic industries, and on the practice of forcing investors to hand over valuable technology.
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