WSJ, Jan 23, 2012. In recent years, the momentum for reform has stalled and China has drifted back toward closed markets, “state capitalism,” and higher trade barriers. China still allows rampant theft of U.S. movies, software and other intellectual property and uses unfair standards to block American industrial and food exports. It unreasonably regulates U.S. service providers and investors, and forces the transfer of proprietary U.S. technology under the guise of “indigenous innovation.” China’s trading partners also have serious concerns about its commitment to core WTO principles, including transparency in decision making and rules.
China is essentially trying to have it both ways — reaping the benefits of expanded export access while it shelters favored sectors and fails to follow through on WTO obligations. Increasingly, in both word and action, America and other WTO members are making it clear that this state of affairs can’t continue.
The United States, the European Union and other countries are more aggressively asserting their WTO rights against China’s unfair practices and incomplete reforms. After waiting until 2004 to file its first WTO case against China, the United States has since filed 11, including five by the Obama Administration. U.S. officials have also recently used international rules to pointedly call out China for failing to notify the WTO of some 200 problematic subsidies and for blocking trade over the Internet.