Bei­jing helps global sys­tem re­main afloat

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By FU JING in Brus­sels fu­jing@chi­

A World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion of­fi­cial in Geneva says China’s en­try to the group in De­cem­ber 2001 is one of the most sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic events in mod­ern world his­tory, mainly be­cause of the move’s win-win out­comes in the past 15 years.

Yi Xiaozhun, deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the WTO, made the com­ments in an exclusive interview with China Daily ahead of the ex­pi­ra­tion of China’s 15-year tran­si­tion pe­riod on Sunday.

“China’s his­toric ac­ces­sion has made both China and the WTO stronger and more vi­brant,” said Yi, in a writ­ten interview with China Daily.

China main­tains that un­der the terms of its WTO en­try, it should be given mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus with the end of the tran­si­tion, a view backed by over 100 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United King­dom.

The United States, Ja­pan and Canada still refuse to treat China as a mar­ket econ­omy be­cause of out­stand­ing an­tidump­ing cases, even though they had agreed to mar­ket econ­omy recog­ni­tion when China en­tered the WTO.

The Euro­pean Union, which needs agree­ment among all 28 mem­ber states to rec­og­nize China’s mar­ket sta­tus, is split. The EU has pro­posed re­form­ing its trade de­fense reg­u­la­tions by in­tro­duc­ing a “mar­ket dis­tor­tion” con­cept, which China says is not in ac­cor­dance with WTO prac­tices.

Yi said China has made “deep and broad com­mit­ments” to reach this point, while ac­cel­er­at­ing ma­jor steps in lib­er­al­iz­ing trade be­fore en­try into the WTO, cit­ing China’s re­duc­tion of most-fa­vored-na­tion tar­iffs from 45 per­cent in 1992 to 15 per­cent in 2001. And in 2015, the av­er­age of such tar­iffs was re­duced to 9.5 per­cent.

Yi also said China’s tradeweighted av­er­age tar­iff is now as low as 4.5 per­cent. China also has opened up more than 100 ser­vices sub­sec­tors such as fi­nance, in­sur­ance, le­gal ser­vices, tele­com, dis­tri­bu­tion and courier lo­gis­tics.

“On top of its trade lib­er­al­iz­ing ef­forts, China over­hauled some 3,000 laws and reg­u­la­tions at the cen­tral gov­ern­ment level, and many more at the lo­cal level, in order to bring China’s le­gal sys­tem into com­pli­ance with WTO stan­dards,” Yi said.

Yi said that dur­ing the pre­vi­ous 15 years, both China and the world have seen trade flows rise dra­mat­i­cally.

“For all the at­ten­tion given to China’s rise as an ex­port pow­er­house, com­men­ta­tors have fo­cused less on the ques­tion of China’s im­ports,” he said. “This is a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the world econ­omy, which is too of­ten over­looked.”

“In the ab­sence of the surge of im­ports into China over the last six or seven years, it’s very likely the global re­ces­sion would have fur­ther deep­ened and that Asian coun­tries would have been more ad­versely af­fected,” he said.

Fur­ther­more, China is one of the few ma­jor de­vel­op­ing coun­tries that com­mit­ted to grant­ing duty-free treat­ment for up to 97 per­cent of prod­ucts made by least-de­vel­oped coun­tries.

“Ever since 2008, China has be­come the lead­ing ex­port des­ti­na­tion for poor coun­tries, ab­sorb­ing about a quar­ter of their to­tal ex­ports,” Yi said.

By bring­ing China un­der its um­brella, the WTO took a huge step to­ward achiev­ing its goal of uni­ver­sal mem­ber­ship and in­clu­sive­ness, he said.

“As a re­sult of China’s ac­ces­sion, one of the world’s big­gest economies is now play­ing by the same mul­ti­lat­er­ally agreed rule book as other ma­jor trad­ing na­tions,” Yi said.

“This is no small achieve­ment, par­tic­u­larly in terms of strength­en­ing global trade gov­er­nance and the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem.”

China and many of its pol­icy changes will inevitably have a huge im­pact on the rest of the world, he said.

“Hence, in the lat­est WTO Trade Pol­icy Re­view on China in July this year, the WTO called upon China to as­sume the in­creased re­spon­si­bil­ity and lead­er­ship that comes with be­ing a cen­tral player in the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem,” Yi said.

China was en­cour­aged to en­sure fair and eq­ui­table par­tic­i­pa­tion of State-owned en­ter­prises in mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion, build bet­ter mech­a­nisms for in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty pro­tec­tion and work with all mem­bers to ad­dress the prob­lem of over­ca­pac­ity, he said.

“It is es­sen­tial that China con­tinue to play an ac­tive and con­struc­tive role in the WTO so that the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem can con­tinue to de­liver new trade re­forms in the fu­ture,” Yi said.

Yi Xiaozhun, deputy direc­torgen­eral of the WTO

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.