July 15, 2016

Washington, DC - The Manufacturers for Trade Enforcement, a coalition representing more than one million workers in the aluminum, steel, chemical, textile and other manufacturing industries, supports the U.S. government in its contention that China continues to operate as a non-market economy. According to multiple news reports, U.S. trade officials stated during a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting that China will not be automatically granted market economy status (MES) later this year. While the Chinese government has argued that China should automatically be treated as a market economy on the 15th anniversary of joining the WTO, U.S. trade officials noted that each WTO member country must judge China’s status based on its own domestic law.

“We’re pleased to see that the U.S. government is taking a principled stand on this issue,” said Heidi Brock, President and CEO of the Aluminum Association and co-chairman of the Manufacturers for Trade Enforcement. “Under U.S. law, the Commerce Department is empowered to make a market economy status determination under established criteria, which, based on the experience of our industries, China has not met.”

According to a report by Reuters, U.S. trade diplomat Chris Wilson told a WTO meeting July 13 that, “There is little doubt that China's market reforms have fallen short of the expectations that were held by many members when China joined the WTO. This is particularly evident in the steel and aluminum industries where China's pervasive interventions have led to a significant overcapacity of global supply that is threatening the viability of competitive firms in these industries around the world."

Thomas J. Gibson, President and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute and co-chairman of the Manufacturers for Trade Enforcement, added, “China maintains state control over many critical aspects of its economy, including key strategic industries like steel. It is clear that China has not met criteria to be designated a market economy. Prematurely granting China market economy status would completely undermine the effectiveness of our trade laws.”