US, EU go after China over subsidies

AFP , GENEVA

Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 12

China was accused by the US and the EU of failing to come clean over the subsidies it pays to industry during a meeting of the WTO, trade officials said yesterday.

State subsidies for the industrial sector are prohibited under WTO rules.

During a two-day meeting of a WTO committee dealing with subsidies, the US and the EU said China had sent the WTO an incomplete list of subsidies that it pays out.

The EU said in a statement that China's notification of subsidy payments "still appears to be incomplete as it focuses only on subsidies provided at a federal government level and omits the substantial subsidies that China maintains."

China had omitted to point out aid that was paid by local and regional authorities, it added.

Beijing has committed itself to the elimination of subsidies to industry under the provisions of its agreements with the WTO when it joined in 2001.

"The United States is concerned because the notification is incomplete, as it omits substantial subsidies that China maintains," the US said in its committee statement.

"Transparency is one of the fundamental principles underlying the WTO agreement," it added.

"Without sufficient transparency, the ability of members to assess China's compliance with its obligations under the subsidies agreement is compromised," the statement said.