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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2010, file photo, a container is loaded onto a cargo ship at the Tianjin port in China. The United States is joining a fight against China at the World Trade Organization in a decision likely to ratchet up tensions between Washington and Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

BEIJING -- The Chinese government on Friday said U.S. opposition to granting the communist nation market economy status in the World Trade Organization was reminiscent of the Cold War.

A U.S. document released Thursday in Geneva supports the European Union in opposing giving China market status, which would make it harder to win anti-dumping cases against China for exporting goods at improperly low prices.

A foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, called on other governments to follow through on what the Chinese government says was a commitment to stop treating China's state-dominated system as a nonmarket economy.

"The so-called nonmarket economy does not exist in WTO multilateral trade rules," said Geng at a regular news briefing. "It is just reminiscent of the domestic laws of certain WTO members in the Cold War era."

The United States took Europe's side in a case brought by China saying it was automatically entitled to market status in December on the 15th anniversary of its 2002 accession to the WTO.

Washington, the EU, Japan and other governments say such status depends on China following through with market-opening changes it has yet to make.

Without that status, other governments have more latitude in declaring China is exporting goods at improperly low prices. They can look at goods from other "surrogate countries" when determining what Chinese prices should be.

"WTO members must end the 'surrogate country' practice in anti-dumping investigations against China by Dec. 11, 2016. This is clear cut and beyond doubt," Geng said. "All WTO members should honor their commitments and promises, strictly abide by the international law, and earnestly fulfill the obligation under international agreements."

Separately, Chinese officials pressed their case at a meeting with the visiting French economy minister, Bruno Le Maire.

The two sides issued a statement pledging their commitment to free trade "based on reciprocal and mutual benefits." European governments are increasingly pressing China for reciprocity, a reference to giving foreign companies the same access to China, the most closed major economy, as its companies get abroad.

A Chinese deputy finance minister, Shi Yaobin, criticized the EU stance against granting China market status.

"We hope Europe will take concrete measures to correct this," said Shi. "We hope France as one of the most important members of Europe will use its leverage in Europe to make the European Council review its laws and correct these nonconforming rules."

The Trump administration rebuked China this week, saying the Asian country is backsliding on market-oriented reforms.

The U.S. wants to work with other major economies to come up with a united response to what America sees as China's foot dragging on economic changes, ranging from reforming state-owned enterprises to curbing the ruling party's role in the economy, said David Malpass, the Treasury's undersecretary of international affairs.

"We are concerned that China's economic liberalization seems to have slowed or reversed, with the role of the state increasing," Malpass said at an event in New York in Thursday. "We invite market-oriented economies around the world to work with us to find constructive responses."

Information for this article was contributed by Andrew Mayeda and Saleha Mohsin of Bloomberg News.

Business on 12/02/2017

Print Headline: U.S. trade stand irks Chinese

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