Chang­ing times de­mand big­ger role in WTO

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS - He Yafei, for­mer vice-for­eign min­is­ter of China, CCG con­sul­tant Tu Xin­quan, a se­nior re­searcher in WTO af­fairs at the Univ e rs i t y o f In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics Sun Yongfu, for­mer head of the Depart­ment of Euro­pean Af­fairs, Min­istry of Comme

Editor’s note: A num­ber of ex­perts spoke at a re­cent fo­rum or­ga­nized by the Cen­ter for China and Glob­al­iza­tion and the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies to mark the 15th an­niver­sary of China’s en­try into the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion. Fol­low­ing are the views of some of those ex­perts: Glob­al­iza­tion the way for­ward

GWang Huiyao, pres­i­dent of CCG and a con­sul­tant to the State Coun­cil lobal gover­nance in its ex­is­tent form is fac­ing chal­lenges, so a new form of global gover­nance is emerg­ing. With the Doha De­vel­op­ment Round of the WTO com­ing to a halt, the ma­jor economies, which are in dire need of new global trade rules, have ac­cel­er­ated the pace of talks among them­selves through mul­ti­lat­eral ar­range­ments such as the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road), and the Tran­sat­lantic Trade and In­vest­ment Part­ner­ship.

China needs to make bet­ter use of these ar­range­ments to be able to write new global trade rules, which in turn will pro­pel its do­mes­tic re­form for­ward, help it main­tain its es­tab­lished pri­or­i­ties in global trade and ex­pand the in­flu­ence of its cap­i­tal.

The United Kingdom ben­e­fited from the ear­lier stages of glob­al­iza­tion, the United States did so from the later stages, and China is ben­e­fit­ing from the cur­rent stage. As such, China will con­tinue to sup­port glob­al­iza­tion and will take the process for­ward. Help­ing in­crease global growth

Glob­al­iza­tion en­tered a new phase af­ter the 2008 global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, and to­day the world is wit­ness­ing a power shift and change in global gover­nance.

While de­fend­ing the ex­ist­ing global gover­nance mech­a­nism with the United Na­tions at its core since the end of World War II, China ad­vo­cates re­form of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions to es­tab­lish a new win-win model based on com­mon pros­per­ity and shared de­vel­op­ment. Its pro­pos­als are in ac­cor­dance with the in­ter­ests of the en­tire in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. China is a de­fender of and con­trib­u­tor to the global gover­nance mech­a­nism, not a vi­o­la­tor as some Western me­dia out­lets al­lege.

China sup­ports the global trade and in­vest­ment sys­tem fea­tur­ing free, open and fair trade. It will con­tinue to par­tic­i­pate in and lead global gover­nance to make it more open and trans­par­ent.

China will also make more con­tri­bu­tions to global gover­nance, and in­ten­sify its ef­forts to raise global eco­nomic growth. And it will pro­vide more global pub­lic prod­ucts and play a more pos­i­tive role as a ma­jor eco­nomic power. China can play lead­ing role in WTO process

Since the Doha De­vel­op­ment Round could not be com­pleted by the end of 2011, the WTO is find­ing it dif­fi­cult to pro­pel the talks for­ward.

The prob­lem lies in the WTO’s ob­jec­tives. The new top­ics of WTO talks in­creas­ingly in­volve the do­mes­tic poli­cies of its par­tic­i­pants. But this is not the time to dis­cuss or change do­mes­tic poli­cies. For the same rea­son some bi­lat­eral free trade area agree­ments have made lit­tle progress in the talks on free trade over the past few years.

So China should start play­ing a lead­ing role in the WTO process, for which it needs to make a lot of prepa­ra­tions on the eco­nomic and pol­icy fronts.

That China will con­tinue to sup­port glob­al­iza­tion is be­yond doubt. The prob­lem is that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity lacks con­sen­sus on what kind of new poli­cies and the­o­ries to adopt. WTO mem­bers need to solve this prob­lem in the com­ing years be­fore pro­pel­ling glob­al­iza­tion for­ward. Ne­go­ti­a­tions key to bet­ter fu­ture

Since join­ing the WTO in 2001, China has not only par­tic­i­pated in but also has done ev­ery­thing it can to adapt to the world or­der. Over the past 15 years, China’s econ­omy and trade vol­ume have in­creased dra­mat­i­cally to the as­ton­ish­ment of both China and its global part­ners.

Bei­jing has been play­ing an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant role in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions; it is pro­mot­ing the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and played the lead­ing role in es­tab­lish­ing the Asian In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Bank, which are ac­tu­ally rule-mak­ing prac­tices. In fact, it has been help­ing draft new rules for global gover­nance.

But that does not mean Bei­jing is out to break the ex­ist­ing rules. It only hopes to add new, and much-needed el­e­ments to the cur­rent global gover­nance mech­a­nism, which re­quires it to con­sider some prob­lems from a global per­spec­tive and bet­ter bal­ance the in­ter­ests of var­i­ous par­ties.

Ne­go­ti­a­tion is one of the pro­cesses to achieve the right bal­ance among dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests, so China must pay greater at­ten­tion to this prob­lem while mak­ing more ef­forts to draft global rules. The ben­e­fits of free trade rules

That other WTO mem­bers started treat­ing it as an equal is one of the great­est ben­e­fits China got by join­ing the WTO. In other words, WTO rules reg­u­late not only China’s poli­cies to­ward the other mem­bers, but also the lat­ter’s poli­cies to­ward China. In many cases, these rules have helped China avoid be­com­ing the vic­tim of the do­mes­tic poli­cies and pol­i­tics of some Western coun­tries.

In 2005, US sen­a­tor Chuck Schumer ac­cused China of “cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tion” and moved a bill to levy 27.5 per­cent tar­iff on all Chi­nese prod­ucts ex­ported to the US. Had that bill been passed, it would have spelled dis­as­ter for Sino-US trade be­cause prod­ucts la­beled “Made in China” would cost 27.5 per­cent more in the US. The move sparked fierce dis­cus­sions in the US, and Schumer was even­tu­ally forced to with­draw the bill, be­cause it was against the mul­ti­lat­eral rules of the WTO.

It was a typ­i­cal case of the WTO rules help­ing China avoid an­tag­o­nis­tic mea­sures of Western coun­tries. Western coun­tries could not pass such bills tar­geted at China, be­cause they were not in ac­cor­dance with the WTO’s rules. Of course, China too has to fol­low the rules, so as to main­tain a good trade en­vi­ron­ment for all.

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