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Washington underestimates China’s contribution to WTO

By Ai Jun
The Office of the US Trade Representative released its annual report on China’s and Russia’s WTO Compliance on Friday, concluding that the US “erred in supporting China’s entry into the WTO,” as if backing China’s WTO membership was a gift from the US.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post published an analysis, predicting “in 2018, retail sales in China are expected to equal or surpass sales in the US for the first time.” It shows that China has become a major driving force in the global economy. But this is never a gift from Washington, but a hard-earned achievement by the hard work and diligence of the Chinese people. Without opening up its market comprehensively, practicing in line with international trade rules, the nation can hardly arrive at today’s economic accomplishments.
China’s accession to the WTO has guided 1.3 billion people from poverty to a fairly well-off living standard. It has even more contributions to globalization for becoming the world’s second largest economy, the largest trading nation, the second-largest investing country and veritable world factory.
Without China in the WTO, the US would have to face the shortage of affordable consumer goods and escalating inflation, and its people may not enjoy the stable life they enjoy today.
Accepting and enduring extremely harsh and unfair treaties, China had a rough time when it first entered the WTO. Until today, the country is still the main target of the anti-dumping actions and has not yet been granted market economy status. But all this has not stopped the economic development of China, which today has not only obtained worldwide attention, but is playing an increasingly active role in governance in the WTO.
Large US companies are also making a fortune from China’s WTO membership. Take Apple. How can the company sit on such fat profits without support from China’s manufacturing industry?
Washington should blame itself, not Beijing, for the sluggish US economy. Over the years, its manufacturing and innovation sectors have been declining while the financial and real estate sectors have been fueling a bubble, given the latter two are more profitable under the backdrop of globalization. Therefore, the US economy is hollowing out with descending competence.
Seeing Beijing is about to surpass Washington economically, the US seems to be utterly discomfited. It does not care if China has taken over 1 billion people out of extreme poverty, or how much it has contributed to the globe. The US’ own interests must come first. Looking for excuses to break the China-WTO contract is, thus, not surprising. Nevertheless, disputes in trade can be resolved through the WTO, instead of a trade war.
What kind of standard is the US using to treat the world’s development and its own? The answer is obvious. But can the US be great again simply by containing others’ progress?
(Global Times)

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