China is Still Breaking WTO Trade Promises 16 Years Later

China's years of broken promises, non-market economy, and predatory trade practices have decimated American factory jobs and still threaten to put U.S. manufacturers out of business 16 years after it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"Over a decade later and the U.S.-China state-of-play hasn't changed much," said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). "China is still making promises it doesn't intend to keep and demanding even more access to our markets. We're living in a 'China first' world, and if our leaders don't act, our domestic factory jobs will continue to disappear."

Beijing has done little regarding economic reform since 2001 when the country joined the WTO. For example, the Chinese government requires intellectual property transfers from foreign companies operating within its borders, subsidizes companies that flood global markets with cheap imports, and skirts international trade law. 

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jingping has demanded China be considered a "market economy," a designation that eases trade rules based on the principle that a country's economy is open rather than managed by the state. The United States has six criteria outlining a market economy, and China fails to meet a single requirement.

"China has shown its unwillingness to meet its commitments, and unless we insist it do so, the next generation of industry will not be made in America," Paul said. "The White House has voiced valid criticism of the WTO and should continue fighting for a fair dispute system. Concurrently, the administration should follow-through on open Section 232 steel and aluminum imports. American jobs are at stake, and workers deserve action now."

U.S.-China economic facts:

  1. Chinese state firms contribute between 25-30 percent of China’s industrial output on average, although state-owned enterprises in some sectors exceed 90 percent as of 2016.
  2. China’s share of the U.S. goods deficit set a new record in 2015, reaching 50 percent.
  3. The cumulative U.S. trade deficit with China since it joined the WTO is over $3.5 trillion.
  4. The growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013.
  5. The ratio of Chinese imports to U.S. exports is about 4:1.
  6. Seventy-five percent of new steel stock since 2000 has come from China.
  7. As many as 15,000 U.S. steel and iron workers are facing layoff as a result of Chinese overcapacity, and nearly 33 percent of American steel jobs have vanished during the last two decades.
  8. Over 1,000 antidumping cases have been initiated against China globally since 1995.
  9. Despite promises to cut capacity, China accounted for over half the world's steel capacity from 2014-2016.
  10. All 435 Congressional Districts have lost jobs to China due to Beijing’s unfair trade practices.