China urges WTO members to abandon surrogate country approach
December 11 marks the 15th anniversary of China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), and also the expiration date of the surrogate country approach that some members of the organization use against Chinese exports.
In the past week, the US and Japan expressed their unwillingness to grant China the market economy status. In response, Beijing has urged some members of the organization to stop using the surrogate country approach, which allows WTO members to use prices in a third country as a benchmark to calculate the normal value of Chinese exports.
"According to Article 15 of the Protocol on China's accession to the WTO, it's the obligation of WTO members to stop using the surrogate country approach against China's exports as scheduled," said Shen Danyang, spokesman of Chinese Ministry of Commerce, at a news conference on Friday.
As a condition for being admitted to the WTO, China agreed in 2001 that other members could treat it as a "non-market economy" for 15 years, ending on December 11, 2016.
China is entitled to its rights as a member of the WTO, while all the other members must fulfill their WTO promises, Shen noted. He added China will take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests according to WTO rules, if some members continue to use the approach against the country.
In these 15 years, over 80 WTO members like Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland have abandoned the approach, but 14 countries are still using the practice against China, including the US, EU, Japan, India, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.
Analysts say that not granting China the market economy status would cause new trade conflicts between China and other WTO members. For instance, when Japan raised tariffs against Chinese products, it damaged their already strained relations.