For­mer WTO chief says EU likely to grant China mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus soon

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By CHEN YINGQUN cheny­ingqun@chi­

The Euro­pean Union will likely grant China recog­ni­tion as a mar­ket econ­omy soon, for­mer World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion head Pas­cal Lamy said.

He made the pre­dic­tion as the 15 th an­niver­sary of China’s ac­ces­sion to the WTO ap­proaches on Sun­day.

Lamy, who was the WTO direc­tor-gen­eral from 2005 to 2013, said in Bei­jing that while the EU is likely to rec­og­nize China’s mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus, it will also prob­a­bly change its anti-dump­ing reg­u­la­tions in a non-dis­crim­i­na­tory way.

As a con­di­tion for be­ing ad­mit­ted to the WTO, China agreed in 2001 that other mem­bers could treat it as a “non-mar­ket econ­omy” for 15 years end­ing on Dec 11, 2016. This sta­tus has made it rel­a­tively easy for ag­grieved par­ties to pros­e­cute an­tidump­ing claims against China.

Lamy said that chang­ing anti-dump­ing reg­u­la­tions has long been a sub­ject of de­bate in the EU, and changes that are made are likely to af­fect not only China but all other coun­tries that trade with the EU.

“I think the EU will rec­og­nize (China’s mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus), but in some way an­tidump­ing mea­sures will be re­for­mu­lated.”

Lamy, who is now honorary pres­i­dent of the Paris-based think tank Notre Europe, played a key role in ne­go­tiat- ing China’s ad­mis­sion to the WTO.

Re­view­ing the past 15 years, he said China has ful­filled the com­mit­ments it made. As glob­al­iza­tion has pro­ceeded it has also in­creased the value it adds to the goods it pro­duces, and that has been im­por­tant in the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth, he said.

The coun­try has pledged to open up more and wants to pro­ceed with more eco­nomic re­form, and that is a good sig­nal, Lamy said.

He said he hopes more ac­tion will be taken soon, par­tic­u­larly re­gard­ing the ser­vices sec­tor.

“Bet­ter ser­vice will come from more com­pe­ti­tion in the ser­vices in­dus­try. And, more com­pe­ti­tion in the ser­vices in­dus­try will come with more ser­vices be­ing im­ported or for­eign ser­vice providers es­tab­lish­ing them­selves within the Chi­nese sys­tem.”

The open­ing up of trade is still the main trend in the world, he said, even if there is op­po­si­tion in the EU to Chi­nese steel im­ports, and there is an anti-free trade back­lash in the United States. Pro­tec­tion- ism can­not guar­an­tee peo­ple’s liveli­hoods and so­cial well-be­ing but is in fact de­struc­tive and will not make a re­turn, he said.

“Trade re­mains open. If you look at trade to­day, it is more open than yes­ter­day, when it was more open than the day be­fore, so the di­rec­tion is right,” he said.

Re­duc­ing ob­sta­cles to trade, whether mul­ti­lat­er­ally, bi­lat­er­ally or re­gion­ally, should be the com­mon goal for all or­ga­ni­za­tions, he said.

Pas­cal Lamy, for­mer direc­tor-gen­eral of the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion

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