U.S.-China Trade: Summary of 2003 World Trade Organization Transitional Review Mechanism for China Page: 5 of 101
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range of information annually to the WTO subsidiary bodies for their reviews on its
(1) economic policies, (2) framework for making and enforcing policies, (3) policies
affecting trade in goods and services, and (4) trade-related intellectual property
In October 2004, we reported on how the USTR and the Departments of Commerce,
Agriculture, and State pursued China's WTO compliance in 2003. Among other
things, we found that overall WTO member participation in the review declined from
the previous year, and U.S. submission of questions was less timely. Furthermore,
procedural and other types of problems that arose during the 2002 review continued
to limit the effectiveness of the 2003 TRM. Specifically, the United States and some
other members were disappointed that China refused to provide written answers to
members' written questions in advance of TRM meetings. Additionally, some
members were disappointed that the review did not result in any conclusions or
recommendations regarding China's implementation. Nevertheless, the TRM has
benefits, and we concluded that these could be enhanced by increased member
participation and earlier U.S. submissions, both of which would increase the potential
for full and informed responses from China.8
Scope and Methodology
To prepare tables detailing issues raised by the United States and other WTO
members, as well as responses from China, we analyzed official World Trade
Organization documents. These documents include members' communications
submitted prior to the TRM meetings and minutes to TRM meetings for all 16 WTO
subsidiary bodies with roles in reviewing China's WTO commitments. We did not
include information on informal side meetings frequently held by the U.S. and
Chinese officials. According to a USTR official, U.S. delegates further explained U.S.
concerns at these informal meetings and were often able to obtain more detailed
responses from China. In addition, we did not include issues or responses raised
outside of items specifically labeled under the TRM agenda.
Within the tables, we categorized issues and responses into broad theme topics, most
of which are identical or similar to those used by WTO members. For instances in
which the United States and other WTO members raised similar issues, we aligned
these issues in the tables. If China provided responses to issues raised, we used our
judgment to align the issues with responses to the extent possible, but we did not
evaluate the extent to which China answered specific issues raised by WTO members.
We generally reported Chinese responses verbatim from statements documented in
the TRM meeting minutes, making only minor editorial modifications for language
clarity. However, in categorizing China's responses, we rearranged parts of them and
did not include some of China's general statements if we could not link them to a
7See GAO, World Trade Organization: First-Year U.S. Efforts to Monitor China's Compliance, GAO-
03-461 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 31, 2003).
8For more information, see GAO, U.S.-China Trade: Opportunities to Improve U.S. Government
Efforts to Ensure China's Compliance with World Trade Organization Commitments, GAO-05-53
(Washington, D.C.: Oct. 6, 2004).
GAO-05-209R U.S.-China Trade
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United States. Government Accountability Office. U.S.-China Trade: Summary of 2003 World Trade Organization Transitional Review Mechanism for China, text, January 25, 2005; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301428/m1/5/: accessed May 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.