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U.S. and China Blame Each Other at the WTO for the Current Trade War

The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, which has upset global markets, has just shifted locations. Instead of battling through tariff tradeoffs, the countries have taken to blaming each other behind closed doors at the World Trade Organization, Reuters reports.

U.S. Ambassador Dennis Shea called the dispute the “fundamental incompatibility of China’s trade-distorting, non-market economic regime with an open, transparent and predictable international trading system,” according to texts of speeches at the WTO that Reuters obtained. He added that compounding the problem was the collective failure of organization members to address the issue over many years.

Shea’s complaints centered on two areas. One was the charge that China engaged in product dumping—selling products below cost in other countries to undermine competitors there—in such areas as telecommunications equipment and steel, as the Commerce Department has alleged.

The other area is in forced technology transfer. Many companies and multiple countries have complained that to do business in China, they are forced to hand over valuable intellectual property, which then is made available to their competitors in the country.

On the other side, Hu Yingzhi, deputy director general of the department of WTO affairs at China’s ministry of commerce, said that the U.S. was to blame for the current trade problems. The issue, Hu said, was “reckless actions” on the part of the Trump administration.

The two countries agreed to a temporary trade war ceasefire after Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met at the recent G20 summit in Argentina.