U.S. accuses China, India of hiding subsidy programs

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 06, 2011 1:50 PM
U.S. accuses China, India of hiding subsidy programs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday accused China of flouting World Trade Organization rules by failing to notify the world trade body of nearly 200 government subsidy programs.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk also said India had failed to notify 50 such programs, and the United States had taken the unusual step of presenting its "voluminous information" on both countries' programs to the WTO.

"The situation was simply intolerable," Kirk said in a statement.

"Every member of the WTO is required to come clean on its subsidy programs on a regular basis ... Because China and India have failed to meet their respective obligations, we had to act," Kirk said.

China has not notified the WTO of its subsidy programs for more than five years and India, in its first filing in almost 10 years, made known only three of the many subsidy programs the United States knows to exist, he said.

"The lack of transparency severely constrains the ability of WTO members to ensure each government is playing by the rules," Kirk said. "It is past time for China and India to be transparent about their subsidy programs."

The stern statement came as the U.S. Senate was debating legislation that would clear the way for the Commerce Department to impose duties on goods from countries with fundamentally misaligned currencies.

The bill is directed mainly at China, which many U.S. lawmakers say undervalues its currency by as much as 25 percent to 40 percent to give its companies an unfair edge.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Mohammad Zargham)