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Concerns over Chinese technology policies

US questions commitment to WTO obligations

Chinese technology policies that limit market access for non-Chinese companies raise concerns about the country's commitment to its WTO (World Trade Organisation) obligations, the Office of the USTR (US Trade Representative) said yesterday in a report on foreign trade barriers.

These policies are intended to support the development of certain Chinese industries while shielding others from foreign competition, the report said.

USTR singled out several Chinese industrial policies for criticism, including government interference in "commercial negotiations over royalty payments to IP [intellectual property] rights holders in the area of 3G standards, the pursuit of unique national standards in many areas of high technology that could lead to the extraction of technology or intellectual property from foreign rights holders, [and] draft government procurement regulations mandating purchases of Chinese-produced software".

"Some of these policies may raise concerns with respect to China's WTO commitments in the areas of market access, national treatment, subsidies disciplines and technology transfer," the report said.

Concerns about China stretched to 71 pages and dominated the 712-page National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, which covered more than 60 foreign markets. After China, the European Union, Japan and South Korea were cited as presenting the most barriers to trade.

While critical of many aspects of Chinese policy, the report noted some progress made in several key areas, including IP protection. China has done a generally good job of revamping its laws to strengthen IP protection, but more work needs to be done and piracy remains a very serious problem, it said.


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