- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2002

China's trade rules covering agriculture, intellectual-property rights and services have "generated significant problems" for U.S. firms during the country's first year of membership in the World Trade Organization, according to a report released yesterday by the Bush administration.
The report also acknowledged that China has made significant progress since becoming a WTO member one year ago.
"While the efforts of China's leadership to implement China's WTO commitments should be recognized, the administration also found a number of causes for serious concern," the report said.
Congress requires annual reports on China's implementation of WTO obligations. The U.S. Trade Representative's Office complied by providing a 55-page document released yesterday afternoon.
China joined the WTO after 15 years of negotiations with the United States and other WTO members.
"The area of agriculture proved to be especially contentious between the United States and China," the report said, citing concerns related to U.S. exports of bioengineered crops, Chinese quotas and an inspection process that hinders sales.
With intellectual-property rights, China made significant improvements to its framework of laws and regulations but has not effectively enforced those laws, the report said.
"If significant improvements are to be achieved on this front, China will have to devote considerable resources and political will to this problem," the report said.
In the service sector, U.S. insurance and express-delivery companies have run into problems.
Along with concerns about agriculture, intellectual property and services, the U.S. government also criticized a lack of legal transparency in China.
"In particular, China implemented its commitment to greater transparency in the adoption and operation of new laws and regulations unevenly at best," the report said.
China's overall effort to make its legal system transparent understandable and open to public scrutiny was "plagued by uncertainty and a lack of uniformity," the report said.
Despite the problems, the report recognized China's efforts on many fronts.
"As a general matter, China took positive steps to implement many of its specific WTO commitments during the past year," the report said.
China made tariff reductions in several sectors, including information technology products, chemicals, autos and auto parts, and some agricultural goods, the report said.
Financial service, telecommunications and tourism- and travel-related services also were able to take advantage of new Chinese regulations, the report said.

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