WASHINGTON — U.S. trade officials said Monday that the U.S. has scored a victory against China, following a ruling from a World Trade Organization dispute panel that said China discriminates against foreign providers of electronic payment services.
“This decision will help U.S. companies and increase American jobs as a more efficient credit and debit payment system in China enables consumers to buy more goods, including quality American-made products,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “The panel also found that China has entrenched the market dominance of its own company, China Union Pay, and distorted competition in China to the detriment of U.S. providers. Open financial services markets are critical, and China should honor its WTO commitments and eliminate this discrimination.”
Tim Reif, general counsel for USTR, said in a call with reporters that the WTO decision was a “decisive victory” for electronic payment service providers.
The discriminatory practices were said to include China requiring all debit and credit cards issued there to carry the logo of the China Union Pay network, and all point-of-sales terminals and ATMs in China to operate on the CUP network.
Reif said the U.S. industry estimates the WTO decision could generate 6,000 jobs related to electronic payment services. The USTR office said more than $1 trillion in electronic payment card transactions are processed in China each year. The WTO panel ruling Monday stems from a complaint the U.S. filed in September 2010. China has 30 days to file an appeal on the WTO ruling.