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Statement by U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke at the Fourth WTO Trade Policy Review of Macau, China


Statement by U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke at the Fourth WTO Trade Policy Review of Macau, China

 

World Trade Organization

Geneva, Switzerland

May 13 and 15, 2013

 

Thank you, Chair. On behalf of the United States, I am pleased to participate in the fourth Trade Policy Review of Macao, China. The United States extends a warm welcome to Mr. Sou Tim Peng, Director of Macao Economic Service, Permanent Representative, Mr. Raimundo Rosario, and the rest of the delegation from Macao, China. We appreciate Macao, China’s active participation in this review, as well as its informative report. We also appreciate the Secretariat’s report, which provided a detailed review of the developments in Macao, China’s economic and trade policies since its last review. Finally, we thank the discussant, Ambassador Nopsuwanwong (Thailand) for his insightful remarks today.

 

The United States recognizes Macao, China’s rich history as a focal point for international trade and values its unique character as a home to different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Since the 16th century, Macao, China has been a hub for traders and missionaries, serving as a location of cultural and economic exchange between China and the West.

 

Macao, China has long maintained an open trade and investment regime, and continues to demonstrate a commitment to free-market principles. Macao, China’s economy has maintained strong growth since its last review, averaging an annual GDP growth rate of 13.3 percent in the review period. GDP per capita nearly doubled from 2007 to 2011, driven by fast growth since 2010.

 

The United States has long been an important trading partner of Macao, China. Bilateral goods trade between the United States and Macao, China totaled $440 million in 2012, a nine percent increase over 2011. U.S. foreign direct investment in Macao, China was $910 million in 2010. Trade relations between the United States and Macao, China remain strong, despite the recent global financial crisis, and we look forward to continuing this productive and dynamic relationship.

 

We appreciate Macao, China’s constructive efforts to support the WTO as an institution, as well as its continued efforts to liberalize its economy during the period under review. As the Secretariat noted, such efforts have been demonstrated through the adoption of measures to introduce competition to the public utility sector and the telecommunication sector. Macao, China has also adopted measures to promote a more attractive business environment such as a simple taxation structure and lower level of administrative fees. The United States also notes Macao, China’s economic policy goal to ensure a business environment that is secure, with minimal trade distorting intervention. We hope Macao, China will continue to incorporate market-based mechanisms in its trade policy initiatives.

 

The United States commends Macao, China on its reported sharp increase in 2011 in the confiscation of articles that infringe intellectual property rights (IPR), including compact discs, pharmaceuticals, and other products. The United States welcomes indications that Macao, China intends to devote greater focus to combating piracy over the Internet. The newly amended Copyright and Related Rights Code aims to strengthen copyright protection in a digital environment, including the blocking of retransmission of pirated signals. If implemented effectively, new enforcement efforts and legislative changes could support Macao, China’s continued efforts to strengthen the legal framework and enforcement of IPR laws. As we indicated in our advance written questions, the Secretariat’s report notes that the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty have not been extended to Macao, China. We were therefore pleased to receive Macao, China’s response that arrangements for this extension have been initiated.

 

The United States appreciates Macao, China’s assurance that all sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are in line with international standards, agreements or recommendations from relevant international organizations as approved by the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. However, we note that Macao, China’s SPS measure relating to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) appears inconsistent with OIE guidelines. It is our understanding that this BSE measure limits beef product market access to Macao, China to deboned beef from animals less than 30 months of age, and, as a result, the product scope appears to be inconsistent with OIE guidelines for countries such as the United States. The United States urges Macao, China to take action in a timely manner to bring the measure into full compliance with international standards.

 

Regarding Macao, China’s efforts to address food safety concerns, we understand Macao, China’s new Food Safety Law, once implemented, will establish a Food Safety Center. We look forward to hearing more regarding the role that this Center will have with regard to SPS issues affecting food and other agricultural products.

 

We would also note that Macao, China indicated in its report that it has launched various programs to provide assistance to exporting industries, including through assistance related to technical production, product design, and vocational training for the textiles and clothing industry. The United States would appreciate further information from Macao, China regarding the type of programs and assistance, financial or otherwise, that are provided to these industries.

 

The United States submitted advance written questions on these and other issues, including import licensing and safeguards notification. We appreciate Macao, China’s responses to all of our questions.

 

The United States shares Macao, China’s strong support for the multilateral trading system. The United States recognizes that Macao, China is an open economy and a strong proponent of free trade, and shares a strong common interest in its continued growth and prosperity. We therefore hope that this Trade Policy Review will help Macao, China build further upon its strong record of contributions to the world trading system. We look forward to continued work with Macao, China, and other WTO Members, to strengthen and promote the multilateral trading system.