Not a market economy? Tell that to China's public

By John Gong
0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, April 19, 2011
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[By Liu Rui/Global Times] 

A new report about people's views of free market economy released in early April by GlobeScan, an international opinion research consultancy, reveals the biggest irony in the Sino-US economic relationship.

Ever since China started its reform and opening-up policy 30 years ago, the US has been preaching to China on the ideals of the free market. While China's economy has transitioned greatly over the years from a Soviet-style planned economy to one that is very much oriented toward market forces, Washington always thinks the transition is falling short.

When China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, it made a great concession when it agreed to be treated as a non-market economy for up to 15 years. And ever since then, China has been making the case to the WTO members for recognition of its market economy status. While many countries have been converted after 10 years of hard diplomacy, the US, the country that bills itself as the Mecca of free enterprise, is still the largest stumbling block.

Yet, America's own public support for free enterprise has been dwindling sharply in recent years. GlobeScan's report, which is based on 12,884 interviews in 25 countries and regions, asked participants to agree or disagree with the statement that the "free market economy is the best system on which to base the future of the world."

Last year, Americans who agreed to this statement dropped to 59 percent from 74 percent, a 15 percentage point dip from the year prior and the second largest year-over-year drop of any country besides Turkey. When this survey was first conducted in 2002, 80 percent of Americans answered that the free market was the best economic system, then the highest percentage among all surveyed countries and regions. But since then the public opinion in the US on this issue has been sliding.

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