WTO starts two-yearly review of China's trade policy
The World Trade Organisation(WTO) kicked off a regular review of China's trade policy on Wednesday, enabling members to examine China's trade policy and practices over the past two years.
Wang Shouwen, head of the Chinese delegation and China's Vice Minister of Commerce, briefed trade representatives on China's economic development, progress in the trade and investment sector, major reform measures and opening-up steps, participation in the multilateral trading system, and assumption of the role as a responsible major country.
"New approaches have been adopted in macroeconomic regulation. New growth drivers have been cultivated and traditional ones retooled. In parallel with the reasonable expansion of total demand, the supply-side structural reform has been stepped up," Wang explained. According to the official, reform measures were being unfolded across the board.
Among others, reforms of the administrative examination and approval system have been advanced, as have reforms relating to the industrial and commercial registration system, the fiscal and taxation and financial systems and the foreign investment approval system.
Wang also mentioned the opening up steps China has undertaken since the previous review in July 2014. "Efforts have been made to build a new open economic system, promote innovative growth of foreign trade and encourage balanced development of two-way investment," he highlighted.
These efforts have contributed to China's ongoing economic success and development.
"In the past two years, China's economy has been growing steadily at a medium to high speed and with a better quality," Wang said.
"In 2015, GDP increased by 6.9 percent, over 13 million new jobs were created in the urban areas... China became the largest trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions," he added.
Wang highlighted the setting-up of three Pilot Free Trade Zones in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, moves that were hailed as part of China's new round of opening up. He also noted that since its accession to WTO in 2001, China has actively assumed its responsibilities as a major developing trading nation, having cut its overall tariff level from 15.3 percent to 9.8 percent and opened up 100 services sectors.
It has also played an active role in Doha Development Agenda negotiations and showed its support for the multilateral trading system through constructive action and key initiatives.
Beijing has also fully assumed its role as a responsible major country, according to Wang.
China has been the largest export market for the Least Developed Countries(LDCs) since 2008...and is an active champion of South-South Cooperation. Over the past six decades, it has provided assistance of over 400 billion yuan($59.87 billion ) to 166 countries and international organizations,according to Wang. He also reminded that China has always fulfilled its duties and obligations as a WTO member. Some 1,800 written questions were sent by 34 members, Wang said, adding that this set a new record for China's trade policy review.
Such reviews are mandated by WTO agreements, and give members the opportunity to examine and evaluate at regular intervals members' trade and related policies. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. All WTO members are subject to review, with the frequency of review depending on the economy's size.
The United States, China, the European Union and Japan are reviewed every two years.