The facts and China's position on China-US trade friction
4. Use of large-scale non-tariff barriers
While the WTO does not completely prohibit countries from protecting their domestic industries, certain principles must be followed, including lower non-tariff barriers, greater transparency of policies and measures, and a minimal level of trade distortion. The US has put in place a large number of discriminatory non-tariff barriers that are more targeted yet disguised, in an effort to keep specific segments of the domestic market under strict protection. This approach constitutes a notable distortion of the trade order and market environment.
According to the WTO, the US has reported 3,004 sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and 1,574 technical barriers to trade (TBT) measures, accounting for 18 percent and 6.6 percent of the world's total (Chart 9). As reported in the UNCTAD's "Analysis of Trade Regulations Data Flags Important New Findings" on June 29, 201850, a tree has to meet 54 SPS requirements before it can be imported into the US. These technical barriers have significantly lowered customs clearance efficiency and raised trade costs.