Free­trade­flag-bearer

No room for trade pro­tec­tion­ism in China’s in­clu­sive ap­proach to global eco­nomic re­form

ChinAfrica - - Business - By Mei Xinyu

China should keep push­ing ahead for re­form of in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic co­or­di­na­tion mech­a­nisms and im­proved global gov­er­nance on the ba­sis of eq­uity and ef­fi­ciency.

SINCE be­com­ing a mem­ber of the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO) in 2001, China has seen re­mark­able growth and be­come an in­te­gral part of the global econ­omy. In a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship, China’s mem­ber­ship has brought sig­nif­i­cant changes both in­ter­nally and world­wide.

In 2016, the lat­est WTO es­ti­mates show world trade will grow slower than ex­pected, an in­di­ca­tion that the global econ­omy has yet to fully re­cover from the de­bil­i­tat­ing ef­fects of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis that began in 2008. China con­tin­ues to be an ac­tive con­trib­u­tor to global eco­nomic re­cov­ery. As a ma­jor trad­ing power, China needs to bet­ter play its role as a flag-bearer for free trade, re­sist trade pro­tec­tion­ism and fight antiglob­al­iza­tion. (FTAS) and its Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive as ways to open and in­crease com­pe­ti­tion in its trad­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Over the past few years, ex­pand­ing im­ports has al­ways been at the top of China’s for­eign trade agenda.

The most telling ex­am­ple of this is the fact that China has en­tered into FTAS in the past two years with de­vel­oped and newly in­dus­tri­al­ized economies whose per-capita GDP is much higher than that of China.

Last year, China an­nounced its FTAS with the Repub­lic of Korea and Aus­tralia, which took ef­fect on De­cem­ber 20, 2015. In ad­di­tion China ex­panded the range of pref­er­en­tial taxes for im­ported con­sumer goods for daily use and cut du­ties on im­ported equip­ment, key com­po­nents, energy and raw ma­te­ri­als from Jan­uary 1, this year.

As for the TPP agree­ment, China has re­peat­edly said that the ini­tia­tors should en­sure the part­ner­ship is in line with WTO rules and pro­posed a free trade area with the Euro­pean Union.

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