12/12/2017, 12.51
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US, EU and Japanese initiative to curb Chinese economic expansion

At the WTO meeting in Buenos Aires, the United States, the European Union and Japan would announce a joint declaration against measures such as subsidies, forced transfer of technology, infringement of intellectual property rights and unfair business practices by Chinese state companies.

Buenos Aires (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United States, the European Union and Japan are set to announce a joint effort to fight China due to the excess of its industrial capacity and other commercial practices. According to an internal anonymous source, officials from the two countries and the EU came to present a joint declaration on the margins of the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), under way until tomorrow in Buenos Aires Aires, to tackle the problem of overproduction and state aid.

Although it is not known whether China will be explicitly mentioned, Washington, Brussels and Tokyo criticize Beijing  subsidies to state-owned enterprises and the investment rules that often force foreign companies to transfer strategic technologies to the country. They argue that such distortions have fueled rampant overproduction in key sectors such as steel and aluminum, which are invading global markets and causing redundancies in other countries.

The United States and the European Union therefore argue that the WTO should not grant China market economy status. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer explained that the Organization is not able to deal with what he terms Chinese mercantilist tactics.

The Japanese Minister of Trade and Economy, Hiroshige Seko, expressed his support for the efforts to strengthen the transparency and reporting standards of the WTO, an initiative promoted by the United States and aimed primarily at denouncing illegal Chinese subsidies. "Free trade - he said - works only when we guarantee fair conditions for competition." "The conditions for a fair market should not be negatively affected by measures such as subsidies, forced transfer of technology, violation of intellectual property rights and commercial practices. Unfair competition from state enterprises".

"It is impossible to negotiate new rules when many of the current rules are not followed," said Lighthizer, adding that the United States is conducting negotiations on how to improve the "sad performance" of many members.

With the United States questioning the usefulness of the WTO, the meeting in Argentina of trade ministers should be able to make only moderate progress in cutting trade barriers. The European commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, reiterated this concern yesterday. "We need - she said - to break down the obstacles that prevent the Organization from carrying out the part it should have in global trade". "There are many problems, but in essence they are reduced to a fundamental question: the inability to discuss issues of interest to members and to agree on an appropriate way to proceed. This problem is systemic and is starting to put the whole organization at risk".

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