You are here: Home » International » News » Economy
Business Standard

China blames US policies for creating 'existential crisis' at WTO

China did not mention the United States by name, but it referred to a number of policies clearly associated with Washington

Tariffs  |  Wto  |  Trump Tariff

AFP | PTI  |  Geneva 

World Trade Organization

China on Monday blamed US policies for creating an "existential crisis" at the World Trade Organization, and urged reform of the body to help it withstand the pressure from Washington.

In a document posted on the website, China cautioned that a range of recent "unilateralist and protectionist practices" had "undermined the authority and efficacy of the WTO".

"As a consequence, the organisation is facing an unprecedented existential crisis," it said.

China did not mention the United States by name, but it referred to a number of policies clearly associated with Washington.

Among other things, it warned that the decision by a "certain member" to use its national security as a pretext to impose "unwarranted on steel and aluminium", had "disturbed the trade order and market... and undermined the relevant rules of the WTO".

It also slammed the unnamed member for taking "unilateralist measures of raising trade barriers and imposing import in an arbitrary way and without authorisation from the WTO".

The document was released amid new eruptions in the US-China trade war, despite ongoing discussions aiming to resolve the two countries' differences.

Beijing said earlier Monday it would raise on $60 billion worth of US goods from June 1 in retaliation for the latest round of US tariff hikes on $200 billion worth in Chinese products. US President had also ordered the start of a process to impose new duties on another $300 billion worth of Chinese items. Trump, who began the standoff last year complaining about unfair Chinese trade practices, has specifically blasted the for slighting US trade interests to the benefit of China.

In the document filed to the WTO, China said it supported "necessary reform of the WTO so as to overcome its existential crisis, enhance its authority and efficacy, and increase its relevance in terms of global economic governance." It stressed the need to resolve several "urgent issues threatening the existence of the WTO".

In addition to the issues related to tariffs, it decried the blockage of the appointment of new judges to the appellate chamber at WTO's Dispute Settlement Body.

The appellate body, which offers a last resort to settle trade disputes and avoid escalation between countries, normally counts seven judges. But the number has gradually dwindled amid Washington's refusal to agree to fresh appointees, amid US complaints the body's arbitrators treat the US unfairly. The Chinese document warned that if the blockage continues, there will be only one WTO appeals judge left in office by December.

"Such a situation would severely threaten the proper functioning of the dispute settlement mechanism and therefore pose an imminent and institutional risk to the Organization," it said.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 00:30 IST