Amadeusz Juskowiak

China calls for better trade deal with us

China called on the United States to remove curbs on its exports to give it favourable trading status and ease restrictions on exports of high technology

But the US Embassy replied that Chinese figures showing 13 years of trade deficits with the US Out of the last 15 are inaccurate and said Peking itself would have to persuade Congress to change laws which limit its exports

The official International Business newspaper today published Chinas demands in a editorial to coincide with the visit of US Secretary of State George Shultz

It is extremely important that the US Market reduce its restrictions on Chinese imports provide the needed facilities for them and businessmen from both sides help to expand Chinese exports the editorial said

The US Should quickly discard its prejudice against favourable tariff treatment for Chinese goods and admit China into the Generalised System of Preference GSP

Despite easing of curbs on US Technology exports in recent years control of them is still extremely strict and influences normal trade between the two countries it added

The paper also printed an article by Chinas commercial counsellor in its Washington embassy Chen Shibiao who said that all kinds of difficulties and restrictions were preventing bilateral trade fulfilling its full potential

He named them as US Protectionist behaviour curbs on technology transfer and outofdate trade legislation

The paper also printed a table showing that since bilateral trade began in 1972 China has had a deficit every year except 1972 and 1977 It shows the 1986 and 1985 deficits at 209 billion and 1722 billion dlrs

A US Embassy official said the US Did not accept Pekings trade figures at all mainly because they exclude goods shipped to Hong Kong and then transshipped to US While US Figures are based on country of origin

He said that if China wants to obtain GSP status it will have to lobby Congress itself to persaude it to amend several laws which currently prevent Peking getting such status

The US Trade Act of 1974 says that to qualify for GSP China must be a member of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade GATT for which it applied in July 1986 and not be dominated or controlled by international Communism

The official said China was well aware of the laws some of which date to the antiCommunist early 1950s but that there is not sufficient political will in the US To change them

China has been the subject of about a dozen cases involving antidumping in the US Within the last two years which the US Side won he said

But for the first time China signed last week an agreement which it itself initiated to voluntarily restrain exports of at least two categories of steel goods which may lead the US Side to withdraw the antidumping case he added

Another diplomat said willingness to provide such voluntary export restraints would be an important issue in bilateral trade issues and in Pekings application to GATT

China has the potential to disrupt world markets especially in textiles Other GATT countries will be nervous about China in this respect But there is a precedent for other centralled planned economies in GATT the diplomat said

Poland Czechoslovakia Hungary and Romania are members of GATT but none has Chinas massive market potential for imports or its vast labour pool to produce cheap exports

In a speech today in the northeast city of Dalian US Secretary of State George Shultz said his country welcomed Chinas interest in participating in GATT

The process of Chinese accession will not be accomplished overnight the GATT rules were not designed for a large economy of the Chinese type Shultz said

China can play an important role by actively joining GATT discussions seeking to expand general trading opportunities and enhance market access for exports worldwide China can further develop its foreign trade system so as to gain the maximum benefit from its GATT participation he said

The problems facing USChina trade and GATT membership are similar a pricing system which many foreign businessmen regard as arbitrary and not related to actual costs especially for exports and a de facto dual currency system

In a memorandum backing its application presented to GATT last month China said it was gradually reforming its economic system and replacing mandatory instruction with guidance planning and economic levers

The diplomat said that to join GATT China had much to do

REUTER