Worrying signs China is moving backward on reforms,
warns U.S. official
Send a link to a friend
[April 24, 2018]
HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's breaches of World Trade
Organization (WTO) rules are detrimental to the United States and there
are worrying signs that the world's second-largest economy is moving
backward, the U.S. consul general of Hong Kong and Macau said on
Kurt Tong was speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club amid
escalating tensions after China and the United States threatened each
other with tens of billions of dollars in tariffs, fanning worries of a
full-blown trade war.
"From the U.S. perspective, China's WTO commitments reflect somewhat of
a broken contract," Tong told a packed audience of business
professionals and media.
"Perhaps most worrisome, actually, is the sense we have in the United
States that China's forward progress on economic reform and opening in
recent years has stalled...in fact, depending on the issue under
consideration, there are some worrisome signs that things may actually
be moving backward."
Tong hailed the contributions that Chinese leaders such as Deng Xiaoping
and Zhu Rongji had made to China's progress, although he said their work
was far from finished.
Worries of a trade war have rattled investors and created uncertainty in
global supply chains and among business leaders contemplating investment
U.S. President Donald Trump's move earlier this month to threaten China
with tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods was aimed at forcing
Beijing to address what Washington says is deeply entrenched theft of
U.S. intellectual property and forced technology transfers from U.S.
Beijing charges that Washington is the aggressor and spurring global
[to top of second column]
Red flags flutter outside the Great Hall of the People before the
second plenary session of the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, China March 8, 2018.
The U.S. consul general said China's size and international economic success had
fostered the idea that it was acceptable for the country to ignore global
"Some thought leaders in China are even championing the narrative that a
non-transparent, state-dominated approach to running an economy is a legitimate
alternative to free and fair markets where eveyone can participate," Tong said.
"For the United States, the result of this situation is growing disappointment."
The trade frictions have also created nervousness in Hong Kong, Tong said,
adding that the former British colony was proof that an economy can be part of
China but also be consistent with global best practices.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems"
formula which guarantees it a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed
on the mainland, including limited democracy.
Tong said maintaining a healthy U.S.-China relationship was crucial for Hong
(Reporting by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
[© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2018 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.