China is moving away from free trade, back into the arms of state-run economics, the American envoy to the World Trade Organization warned on Thursday.
In his remarks regarding the WTO review of China's progress in meeting the promises it made when it joined the trade group 10 years ago, Michael Punke, the US ambassador to the WTO, noted that China made impressive progress in changing its ways leading up to and during the first five years of its membership with the world trade body. But in recent years, Punke said (according to the text of his remarks), China has begun moving back to what he called "state capitalism."
“... the overall picture presented by China’s first ten years of WTO membership remains complex, given a troubling trend in China toward intensified state intervention in the Chinese economy over the last five years," said Punke. "Increasingly, trade frictions with China can be traced to China’s pursuit of industrial policies that rely on trade-distorting government actions to promote or protect China’s state-owned enterprises and domestic industries.
“In fact, China seems to be embracing state capitalism more strongly each year, rather than continuing to move toward the economic reform goals that originally drove its pursuit of WTO membership. This is a troubling development, and the United States urges the Chinese government to reconsider the path it is on."