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Friday, June 15, 2012

China - US in war of words at WTO - is a currency war coming next?

(Reuters) - China has rejected U.S. criticisms during a review of its trade policies at the World Trade Organization and used the occasion to suggest many U.S. accusations were not only groundless but in some areas hypocritical.

U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke levelled a wide-ranging salvo of criticisms during the two-day Trade Policy Review (TPR), which every WTO member has to undergo on a periodic basis, and said China was falling back into a "tighter embrace of state capitalism".
But China swatted aside many of the criticisms, which included complaints about its failure to disclose subsidies and a lack of transparency and intellectual property enforcement.
China's Assistant Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua said he regretted that during the TPR process some WTO members had deemed China was practising state capitalism.
"The term cannot be found in ... WTO documents. It has nothing to do with the TPR or WTO rules. We strongly believe TPR should not be abused for the purpose of domestic politics," he said.
Alongside the oral debate, China answered more than 1,720 written questions in a document running to 442 pages, on topics ranging from its plans to develop shale gas to a promise to set up a deposit insurance scheme as soon as possible.
In the internal WTO document seen by Reuters on Thursday, some questions submitted by the United States elicited barbed comments. Others, such as the U.S. allegation that the state bodies overseeing China's economy provide economic support to national champions in key industries, prompted flat denials.
A U.S. demand for more transparency fell on stony ground, with China saying the commitments to transparency cited by the United States were outside the WTO's remit.
"The U.S. never fulfills any of the transparency commitments made to China," it said.

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