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May 28, 2017

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China's trade policies are still too opaque: WTO members

GENEVA--World Trade Organization member states on Thursday urged China to make its trade policies more transparent amid a "striking" lack of clarity on its rules.

China, which recently become the largest trader in the 160-member group, has failed to live up to key transparency commitments it made when it joined the organization in 2001, WTO members said during a three-day policy review.

The WTO Secretariat, which has drawn up a 200-page report on China's trade policy over the past two years, acknowledged it had not been able to obtain key documents from Beijing since they had not been centralized and many had not been translated into one of the group's official languages.

Malaysian ambassador Mariam Salleh, who chaired the mandatory biannual review, said members had stressed "the increased responsibility that comes with becoming a lead player in the multilateral trading system."

One source said a full overview of the country's complex web of national and sub-national trade laws and regulations was effectively impossible, while EU ambassador Angelos Pangratis described the lack of clarity on trade issues as "striking."

Canada's representative also criticised the "often vague and insufficent information available publicly."

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