A senior World Trade Organization (WTO) official said in Geneva on
Friday that China was not to blame for the huge US trade deficit and Washington
could not solve this problem through protectionism.
"Trade imbalance with China has given rise to certain proposed measures in
the Congress, and clearly the US administration is watching that particular
imbalance rather carefully," said Clemens Boonekamp, director of the WTO's Trade
Policy Review Division.
"But it's not bilateral imbalance that you need to worry about,and to put it
in more economic terms, the actual overall trade imbalance, the current account
imbalance, is a result of policies elsewhere," Boonekamp told reporters after
the WTO's three-day policy review of the United States.
Boonekamp reminded reporters that the US administration and the Congress were
actually divided on the US-China trade deficit issue.
"I don't think the US administration is actually blaming China. There is,
however, a lot of political pressure, political noise particularly in the
Congress that says China is to blame for this in some way or another," he said.
The official said the current situation with China was in some way a repeat
of what happened with Japan in the early 1980s, except that the U.S. was not
taking the same kind of measures that it took very quickly against Japan.
"The U.S. administration is certainly resisting what's taking place in the
Congress at the present moment," he noted.
According to the official, nearly all WTO members expressed their concerns
about the U.S. "twin-deficits" during the three-day policy review meeting.
The WTO members also expressed worries that the US fiscal and trade
imbalances might give rise to protectionist sentiments.
Asked whether he had given some direct recommendations to the US on the
imbalances, Boonekamp said he had only indirect suggestions: protectionism is
not an answer.
"This clearly is a macroeconomic phenomenon, part of the global trade
imbalance phenomenon, and not a problem to be addressed by trade protectionism,"