China needs to open up its markets further to improve global trade and create a level playing field, U.S. Trade representative Ron Kirk told CNBC’s "Worldwide Exchange" Thursday.
“It’s been roughly 10 years since China joined the World Trade Organization, and no country has benefited more from global trade liberalization than China, but they still have some way to go to fulfill their commitments to the WTO. We want fair competition,” Kirk said.
He said that he welcomes China’s growth, and said the country has contributed to world stability. But he stressed that China must continue to open its economy across a number of sectors.
“We’re asking China to get government hands off the scale,” he added.
Kirk said he wants to see China allow businesses from around the world to come in and invest in China.
“We’d like to see China allow U.S. and other businesses to come in and buy companies and compete on the same level as domestic companies. We have challenged China before at the WTO, and in the last case we won. There are a number of areas where we think that it’s in China’s interest to continue its path of liberalization,” Kirk said.
He dismissed the notion that the U.S is simply protecting its own interests and is worried about the rise of China as a global superpower.
“We absolutely welcome China’s rise as a world, global economic power, and we endorsed China joining the WTO. The best way for China to continue their upper trajectory is to have strong, healthy, competitive industries that are not advantaged by governmental preferences,” he added.
“I believe we can keep protectionism at bay,” Kirk said. “We improved our trade relations with Colombia, Panama and Korea, amongst others. Most Americans find it amusing that the U.S. is accused of protectionism when we have the largest trade imbalance in the world.”