US Criticizes China's Services Practices

Original Publication Date: 
27 September, 2006

Geneva - The United States raised some sharp concerns over China's lack of compliance with its scheduled commitments as spelled out in its 2001 accession protocol to the World Trade Organization (WTD, 9/27/06).

Ahead of China's fifth transitional review meeting - which will occur soon - the United States on Tuesday circulated a paper outlining its key concerns with that country's services trade. The United States asked China whether it will allow foreign service providers to engage in wholesale distribution and commission agent services for processed and crude oil after December 11, 2006 - when China is required to open to foreign participation.

Although China is required to open trade in distribution services to foreign providers - in items such as books, newspapers and magazines, audiovisual products and electronic publications - within three years of joining the WTO, Beijing continues to impose "market access or national treatment limitations on foreign service providers," the United States alleged.

Washington also cited lack of compliance in other areas of distribution and franchising. Washington wants to know how China proposes to remove barriers to express delivery services, telecommunications, media, construction services and legal services - among others.